Sunday, August 21, 2016

Son Control - Mark's 2nd Amendment. Was "son of God" Added Later to Mark 1:1? The Greek Patristic Evidence.

WhoSonFirst?

1. Introduction of the Issue

Bible Reading
Mark 1:1 either reads as follows or uses alternative words with about the same meaning in all English Bibles that I am aware of:

BibleGateway Mark 1:1 NRSV 
"The beginning of the good news[a] of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.[b]"

Alternative
There is Textual Criticism evidence for an alternative reading: 
"The beginning of the good news[a] of Jesus Christ"
with the difference being the omission of "the Son of God".


Greek Patristic Evidence
A key area of evidence for the Alternative is the early Greek Patristic evidence. Patristic evidence is normally an important category of External evidence except when there is relatively little of it. For the issue at hand though, we have early Patristic evidence in quantity. Patristic evidence is also relatively weightier for the Gospel of Mark than for other Gospels as Mark is relatively poorly attested by early Manuscript evidence compared to the other Gospels.


2. Discussion

Tatian c. 170


Considering Tatian as witness here:

"Tatian the Assyrian[1][2][3][4] (c. 120–180 AD) was an Assyrian early Christian writer and theologian of the 2nd century.

Tatian's most influential work is the Diatessaron, a Biblical paraphrase, or "harmony", of the four gospels that became the standard text of the four gospels in the Syriac-speaking churches until the 5th-century, when it gave way to the four separate gospels in the Peshitta version.[5]"


his related witness is the Diatessaron

"The Diatessaron (c 160–175) is the most prominent Gospel harmony created by Tatian, an early Christian apologist and ascetic.[1] Tatian combined the four gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—into a single narrative.

Tatian's harmony follows the gospels closely in terms of text but puts the text in a new, different sequence. The four gospels differ from one another; like other harmonies, the Diatessaron resolves contradictions. It also omits both the contradictory genealogies in Matthew and Luke. In order to fit all the canonical material in, Tatian created his own narrative sequence, which is different from both the synoptic sequence and John's sequence. Tatian omitted duplicated text, especially among the synoptics. The harmony does not include Jesus' encounter with the adulteress (John 7:53–8:11), a passage that is generally considered to be a late addition to the Gospel of John,[2] with the Diatessaron itself often used as an early textual witness to support this. No significant text was added.[3]

Only 56 verses in the canonical Gospels do not have a counterpart in the Diatessaron, mostly the genealogies and the Pericope Adulterae. The final work is about 72% the length of the four gospels put together (McFall, 1994).

In the early Church, the gospels at first circulated independently, with Matthew the most popular.[4] The Diatessaron is notable evidence for the authority already enjoyed by the four gospels by the mid-2nd century.[5] Twenty years after Tatian's harmony, Irenaeus expressly proclaimed the authoritative character of the four gospels. The Diatessaron became a standard text of the gospels in some Syriac-speaking churches down to the 5th century, when it gave way to the four separate Gospels,[5] in the Peshitta version.[6]"

The text of the Diatessaron

and regarding the offending verse here:

"The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God."


It is nowhere to be found in the Diatessaron. We have the following reasons to think this is evidence that Mark 1:1 either outright did not exist at this time or was recognized by Tatian as likely not original:

  1. Tatian used almost all of "Mark".
  2. There is no clear reason for Tatian to exorcise 1:1.
  3. It would be natural for Tatian to start his Gospel with it as his theology is that Jesus started as son of God.
  4. The Diatessaron likewise does not have the start of "Matthew" or "Luke" again suggesting that either they outright did not exist at this time or were recognized by Tatian as likely not original. If "Matthew" and "Luke" had beginnings added (which their primary source "Mark" did not have) than that is evidence that "Mark" did too.
  5. Elliott argues (well) that all of 1:1-3 is unoriginal J.K. Elliott "Mark 1:1-3–A later addition to the Gospel?" NTS 46 (2000) 584-8

 

Now, getting all the way back to the specific question of this article, if there is evidence that Mark 1:1 is not original, is that evidence that the "son of god" in 1:1 is an addition?

As Kenneth Mars said in the classic ''Young Frankenstein'' "of gorse" in an absolute sense. In a relative sense though if all of 1:1 is an addition is that evidence that "son of God" is a even later addition to the prior addition of 1:1?

I think so as general evidence of editing in the neighborhood is evidence of specific editing there and specifically general addition evidence is specifically evidence of specific addition editing.

Thus I will add Tatian as evidence for addition and note the coordination with the other evidence as there is no quality evidence that "son of God" even existed in Tatian's time.  

 

Irenaeus c. 190

Against Heresies (Book III, Chapter 11)

"8. The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as it is written in Esaias the prophet,"


Compare to the Text:

"The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Even as it is written in Isaiah the prophet,"


The only significant difference being "the son of God". Irenaeus explicitly says "son of God" twice in his related discussion and a major theme is the generation of Jesus. It seems reMarkable to me that he would invoke the offending phrase in his discussion but not in his quote.

Irenaeus' context here is a general one. He is claiming support from the individual Gospels for his conclusion that there should be exactly four Gospels. Strangely, his mystical, indirect argument is exactly the type he accuses his opponents of. 

 

Origen c. 240

Origen Commentary on John Book I.14

"The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ."


followed by:

"The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ,
as it is written in Isaiah the prophet, Behold I send my messenger before thy face, who shall prepare thy way.
The voice of one crying m the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight."


Compare to the Text:

"The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Even as it is written in Isaiah the prophet, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, Who shall prepare thy way.

The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make ye ready the way of the Lord, Make his paths straight;"


The only difference is "the son of God" and this is for 3 verses.

Origen's context is that the Christian Bible is a continuation of the Jewish Bible.

Origen Commentary on John Book 6.14

"The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ,
as it is written in Isaiah the prophet, Behold, I send My messenger before thy face, who shall prepare thy way before thee.
The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight."

Compare to the Text:

"The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Even as it is written in Isaiah the prophet, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, Who shall prepare thy way.

The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make ye ready the way of the Lord, Make his paths straight;"

The only difference is "the son of God" and this is for 3 verses.

Origen's context is that he is trying to harmonize the Gospels.

Origen Contra Celsus BOOK II. CHAP. IV

"The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ,
as it is written in the prophet Isaiah, Behold, I send My messenger before Thy face, who shall prepare Thy way before Thee"

Compare to the Text:

"The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Even as it is written in Isaiah the prophet, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, Who shall prepare thy way."

The only difference is "the son of God" for 2 verses.

Origen's context is that the Christian Bible states that it is connected to the Jewish Bible. 

 

Serapion c. 350

Per the two main authors here on opposite sides, Head, contra "son of God", and Wasserman, pro "son of God", there is agreement that Serapion is a Contra. Per Michael Kok, Serapion, with evidence similar to Origen, quotes Mark 1:1-2 twice without "the son of God" in Against the Manichees (which exists only in the Greek) 25 & 37. 

 

Basil c. 363

Against Eunomius (Book II) 15 (Page 150)

"The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, as is written in Isaiah the prophet: a voice of one crying out [Mk 1.1]"

Compare to the Text:

"The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Even as it is written in Isaiah the prophet, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, Who shall prepare thy way. The voice of one crying in the wilderness"
Wasserman points out that the omission of the second half of verse 2 is support for the omission of "the son of God" in verse 1. But again, the cumulative absence of Patristic quotation of "son of God" here suggests the more likely explanation that it did not exist/was not accepted as original at this time. Also note here that Basil's context is the timing of "the son of God" so it would be reMarkable for him to exorcise it from his related quote. 

Cyril Jerusalem c. 370

ST. CYRIL OF JERUSALEM: CATECHETICAL LECTURES LECTURE III. ON BAPTISM
"The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, &c.: John came baptising in the wilderness"
Compare to the Text:

"The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Even as it is written in Isaiah the prophet, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, Who shall prepare thy way. The voice of one crying in the wilderness"
Cyril gives part of the missing text early on (1):
"For the voice is heard of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord" 

He adds (2): 

"Make straight the way of the Lord" 

So the only part of the start of "Mark" he is missing besides "son of God" is the prophetic prediction. 

Part of his argument (11): 

"If the Son of God was baptized" 

Why not quote that if it's in the text. He's making a treatise out of a few verses. 

And, as the Brits says, the cruncher (14): 

"Jesus Christ was the Son of God, yet He preached not the Gospel before His Baptism. If the Master Himself followed the right time in due order, ought we, His servants, to venture out of order? From that time Jesus began to preach[5], when the Holy Spirit had descended upon Him in a bodily shape, like a dove[6]; not that Jesus might see Him first, for He knew Him even before He came in a bodily shape, but that John, who was baptizing Him, might behold Him. For I, saith he, knew Him not: but He that sent me to baptize with water, He said unto me, Upon whomsoever thou shalt see the Spirit descending and abiding on Him,that is He[7]. If thou too hast unfeigned piety, the Holy Ghost cometh down on thee also, and a Father's voice sounds over thee from on high--not, "This is My Son," but, "This has now been made My son;" for the "is" belongs to Him alone, because In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God[8]. To Him belongs the "is," since He is always the Son of God: but to thee "has now been made:" since thou hast not the sonship by nature, but receivest it by adoption. He eternally "is;" but thou receivest the grace by advancement." 

Cyril's point/apology here is that the Synoptics appear to show Jesus as becoming son of God at baptism. Cyril's spin is that it is only from the standpoint of the witness that Jesus became son of God at the baptism. Jesus was "son of God" before the baptism (ala "John") and he (Jesus) knew/knows/will know it. Being able to quote "Mark" as saying "son of God" before the baptism is exactly what he would have wanted and done had it been there, same as his fellow Patristics.

Epiphanius c. 378

Panarion Section 51 (Page 26)
"The beginning of the Gospel, as it is written in Isaiah the prophet, A voice of one crying in the wilderness."
Compare to the Text:
"The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Even as it is written in Isaiah the prophet, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, Who shall prepare thy way. The voice of one crying in the wilderness"
So Epiphanius has exorcised "Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, Who shall prepare thy way" and "Jesus Christ, the Son of God." Epiphanius says the northodox are using "Mark" to support their position (page 31):
""Look" they said here is a second Gospel too with an account of Christ, and nowhere does it say that his generation is heavenly. Instead they said, "the spirit descended upon him in the Jordan and a voice, "this is my beloved son with whom I am well pleased.""
If the text had said "son of God" at 1:1 than Epiphanius likely would have used it since he would consider it evidence from "Mark" that Jesus was the son of God before the baptism. He discusses the related text of the Gospels in detail looking for any support so the context indicates it was not there. Professor Ehrman briefly mentions the issue in TOCoS but doesn't going into the timing. Consider that at the time Epiphanius writes about the issue the only known extant Greek support is Vaticanus (coordination).
Epiphanius has provided us with the motive to add "son of God" and contemporary to him is when the extant Greek evidence for it starts. 

Asterius c. 385

Per Wasserman:

"The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, as is written in the prophets:
Compare to the Text:

"The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Even as it is written in Isaiah the prophet"
Here Wasserman confesses that this is simply a quote of the Short. While he is in a confessional mood, Wasserman further confesses that Asterius is commenting on the heading of Psalm 9 and specifically the "son" in it and making/creating a connection to Mark 1:2 with Jesus supposedly the end of the Law in the Jewish bible and the start of a new era as witnessed by "Mark". Therefore, the context of Asterius indicates it was not there to use. 

Severian c. 390

Per Wasserman:
Cites a compiler of the relevant manuscripts that says 12 are Short and 2 are Long. Based on quantity, Severian is than Short and this is then direct evidence of change from Short to Long.

3. Conclusion

Critical (good) Textual Criticism usually decides textual criticism issues based on The Difficult Reading Principle combined with a minimum of other textual criticism evidence. Here the Difficult Reading Principle clearly favors "Son of God" as addition as that is what orthodox Christianity would strongly prefer. The Patristic External evidence category is always important and here it is even more important than usual as there is only one papyri witness (which supports omission). Prior to the fifth century we have nine Greek Patristic witnesses above who support addition and no Greek witnesses who support original until Cyril of Alexandria early 5th century. Thus the Difficult Reading Principle combined with the dominant Patristic witness for addition, which easily meets the minimum additional evidence requirement, clearly supports "Son of God" as addition.




 

 

2 comments:

Stuart Waugh said...

I came to a similar conclusion, but based on the title of the Marcionite Gospel, which was called "the Gospel of the Lord (ΚΥ)" but that could merely be a paraphrase of "the Gospel of Christ (ΧΥ)". Expanding to Jesus Christ simply adds IY.

My theory is the first prototype Gospel was simply called ΤΟΥΕΥΑΓΓΕΛΙΟΝΧΥ or if Harnack is right ΤΟΥΕΥΑΓΓΕΛΙΟΝΚΥ (owing that ΚΥ and ΧΥ were nearly interchangeable besides being an easy mistake of the eye) which became ΤΟΥΕΥΑΓΓΕΛΙΟΝΙΥΧΥ by adding "Jesus". The Marcionite Gospel kept the title, being the only gospel in circulation initially (my WAG, the prototype Gospels were not in published circulation, but in church archives as sort of religious play outlines). Note, the Marcionite text of Paul always refers to the Gospel as the Gospel of Christ. The Gospel of God (about his son ... per Romans in Catholic form) was an orthodox reference,as the subservience of Christ to the father was part of their doctrines (yes plural).

Mark built his gospel off a proto-Gospel; IMO he used two forms in the church library, the one used by Marcion (which became Luke), and the one used by Matthew, probably with some variants from the manuscript used by those authors (accounting for some style and word variance, owing that no two copies of any manuscript were likely identical).

But when he composed his Gospel and published it, there were already others in circulation, the Marcionite for sure (and I think also an early form of Matthew which was used to counter Marcion's). So Mark followed Matthew with a new title ΚΑΤΑΜΑΡΚΟΝ to distinguish it from other Gospels. He did not dispense with the old title, but instead the old title became became the first verse with the prefix ΑΡΧΗ.

I agree completely with the assessment that ΥΥΘΥ was appended for orthodox theological reasons by scribes, becoming the dominant form. Those four letters announce Jesus as subordinate to God the father. And unlike Marcion and other heretics (even within Orthodoxy the Patripassionists) who believed the Christ raised himself from the dead, the orthodox maintained that God the father was the one who raised Jesus. That power and authority came from the father. Mark, while not likely of heretical orgin, lacks a protoevangelium. This created the need to specify the relationship to the father, and to put God in the announcement of the Gospel.

that's my 2 cents

Anonymous said...

Very nice article, exactly what I needed.