Luke 9:55-56 (DR - RSV/CE & NAB)?


#1

One of the reasons I love to read scripture is to follow the sayings of Jesus Christ. As a matter of routine, I compare scriptures across 3 different translations (Douay-Rheims (D-R), Revised Standard-Catholic Edition (RSV-CE) and the New American Bible (NAB). Recently, I came across John 9:55-56.
The D-R states:"(55) And turning, he rebuked them, saying: You know not what spirit you are. (56) The Son of man came not to destroy souls, but to save. And they went into another town.
The NAB states: (55) Jesus turned and rebuked them, (56) and they journeyed to another village.
The RSV-CE states something similar to the NAB version.

I believe the NAB and RSV-CE versions come from older manuscripts which did NOT contain the quote attributed to Jesus found in the D-R version. If the manuscripts used in the D-R (which are essentially the manuscripts used by St. Jerome when he compiled the Latin Vulgate) are relatively “newer” than those used in the NAB and RSV-CE, then doesn’t that mean that someone added the quote making the source used by St. Jerome inaccurate?


#2

Uh-Oh! 80 views and still no replies!!!
I have a feeling I may never understand the omission of our Lords dialogue in this verse!
:crying:


#3

Since you wan’t a response I’ll give one, though I don’t have much to contribute.

Like you I would assume that the NAB and RSV-CE are using what the people who produced them believe to be a more authentic version of the text. It might not necessarily be from an older manuscript per se, but the shorter reading might be “better attested” in general. For example, (and I’m making this up out of the air) you might have five Greek manuscript traditions, one of which agrees with Jerome, three of which say something different but agree with each other, and the fifth says something completely different from any of the other four. All other things being equal the scripture scholars are likely to view the reading with three independent sources supporting it as most likely to be the original and view the other two as divergences, one of which Jerome was unlucky enough to have used.

In any case, we know that the Vulgate and all its parts are canonical Scripture, but I don’t think that necessarily applies to every word or even every sentence.


#4

Aelred, thank you.
I contemplated along those lines but since I have very little experience with scriptural study, I wasn't sure. Thank you for at least helping me make some sense of the differences between officially approved translations especially with regard to a saying of our Lord Jesus Christ.
God bless you.


#5

For the record, the text you are referring to is in Luke, not in John.

This is a pretty interesting question to me as I have never noticed this before. I found a discussion about this is a Protestant forum since the same wording appears in the King James Version (not surprising, since much of the KJV was lifted right out of the DRB). Here's a link to the discussion:
**
Thread: A Question on Luke 9:55-56**


#6

The OP is correct.

*And when his disciples James and John had seen this, they said: Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them? And turning, he rebuked them, saying: You know not of what spirit you are. The Son of man came not to destroy souls, but to save. And they went into another town. (Luke 9:54-56 DR)

**And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to bid fire come down from heaven and consume them?” But he turned and rebuked them.
And they went on to another village. *(Luke 9:54-56 RSV)

They are significantly different with the DR appearing to have something added or the RSV appearing to have something removed. scripture4all.org indicates that the DR is closer to the original Greek.

I am very interested in hearing the answer!

-Tim-


#7

It goes both ways actually. The translators of the KJV were influenced by the 1582 Rheims New Testament (mostly on the vocabulary - say, the word “emulation”), while the Challoner version (the one we commonly call ‘Douay-Rheims’ today) used the KJV as its base text - because of Bishop Richard Challoner’s Anglican origins.


#8

Wow! This is the result of working 13 days straight with very little sleep - I merged 2 verses that I was studying this week! :blush:
Thank you for pointing that out - it could very well be why no one was initially replying to the question! Thanks again!..I wish I knew how to edit the original post!


#9

Corrected to reflect Luke instead of the original and mistaken post stating “John”.


#10

I can accept that there are differences between the manuscripts used between the DR and the NAB - minor variations in wording or emphasis are quite understandable and expected.
However, when dealing with dialogue purported to be spoken by our Lord Jesus Christ, I find it very difficult to believe manuscripts could add or omit such important verses from one to another! Wouldn’t that amount to borderline blasphemy!?!?
Does this mean, as he was compiling the Vulgate (which the DR is translated from), St. Jerome unknowingly used manuscripts containing “fabricated” dialogue of Jesus within these verses since the manuscripts he used were not as old as the ones we currently use in the newer translations such as the NAB?


#11

Or, possibly, that he had access to even older manuscripts that we don’t know about anymore. We don’t have enough information about his references to know for sure. Modern scholars, of course, will understandably default to the oldest and best manuscripts known to them (until-- and if-- something older and better turns up).


#12

I was hoping someone would say what I was thinking!
With no evidence to confirm it - I tend to believe St. Jerome utilized not only older manuscripts than those currently used, but ones that were more complete. It stands to reason that as manuscripts are lost, differences would result from accidental omission instead of intentional addition.

Just my two cents.


#13

You can’t neatly pigeonhole everything into neat categories though. One of the key rules in textual criticism that scribes tend to add, embellish and harmonize rather than subtract, and so the shorter reading is to preferred (lectio brevior est potior). Which is correct in many cases, but at the same time there are exceptions to this rule - which shows that it is not absolute.


#14

[quote="Hishumbleservan, post:10, topic:341027"]
I can accept that there are differences between the manuscripts used between the DR and the NAB - minor variations in wording or emphasis are quite understandable and expected.
However, when dealing with dialogue purported to be spoken by our Lord Jesus Christ, I find it very difficult to believe manuscripts could add or omit such important verses from one to another! Wouldn't that amount to borderline blasphemy!?!?
Does this mean, as he was compiling the Vulgate (which the DR is translated from), St. Jerome unknowingly used manuscripts containing "fabricated" dialogue of Jesus within these verses since the manuscripts he used were not as old as the ones we currently use in the newer translations such as the NAB?

[/quote]

Apparently not so for the early Christians. There's of course the accidental copyist's error, but early Christian scribes apparently didn't think it very odd to alter the text on purpose, say to smoothen out grammatical 'errors' and difficult passages too. A scribe might change a bit of say, Mark's text to conform it more to Matthew's wording either out of habit (accidentally) or because he's so used to Matthew's version that Mark's wording doesn't feel 'quite right' to him. Of course for us today what they're doing might sound rather irreverent, but I think that early Christians simply inherited the Jewish mentality of transmitting faithfully what they think is the true meaning of the Scriptures, even if meant 'adding to' and 'tampering' with the text.

For example, when the 1st century Jewish historian Josephus in his work Antiquities of the Jews (1.17) retold Old Testament history, he promised that he had reproduced it faithfully without adding to or removing from it. But a close reading would show that he did what we could consider to be the exact opposite of what he said: he had added incidental details that were not originally there in the original narrative and taken out some bits. Apparently Josephus thought he was not lying though: he was intending to transmit what in his view Scripture actually meant, even if it meant playing loose with the original narratives. A second example would be Jewish targumim (singular targum), Aramaic 'translations' of Scripture. For us some targumim doesn't look so much like a 'translation' because they play fast and loose with the original words, but more like a paraphrase. Here's an example:

And the Lord said to the angels who ministered before Him, who had been created in the second day of the creation of the world, Let us make man in Our image, in Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl which are in the atmosphere of heaven, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every reptile creeping upon the earth. And the Lord created man in His Likeness: In the image of the Lord He created him, with two hundred and forty and eight members, with three hundred and sixty and five nerves, and overlaid them with skin, and filled it with flesh and blood. Male and female in their bodies He created them.

...] And the Lord God created man in two formations; and took dust from the place of the house of the sanctuary, and from the four winds of the world, and mixed from all the waters of the world, and created him red, black, and white; and breathed into his nostils the inspiration of life, and there was in the body of Adam the inspiration of a speaking spirit, unto the illumination of the eyes and the hearing of the ears.

Compare it with what the original Hebrew says:

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

...] Then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.

You can see that this particular targum added a lot of words, and in addition smoothened out a difficulty present in the original (why does God say "Let us make man in our image"?) But no one thought it was odd - the translator must have simply thought that he was fleshing out the narrative in Genesis.


#15

In some cases, what you have is really different versions of the text in circulation. So it’s not a question of a version subtracting or adding words, but two different forms of the same text circulating at the same time: one could be longer or shorter than the other. Acts of the Apostles is a good example: the so-called ‘Western’ version of Acts is as a whole much longer than the version preserved in other texts and which later became the ‘standard’.

As for your question, I’m gonna try to give a comprehensive answer here so please bear with me for a sec. I might take up a few more posts. Don’t worry; I’ll take a break. :smiley:

First, a little something on text-types (families of versions) of the New Testament. When Brooke Foss Westcott and Fenton John Anthony Hort published their work The New Testament in the Original Greek in 1881, they divided existing Greek manuscripts of the NT into four text-types: the Neutral, the Alexandrian, the Syrian, and the Western. Eventually it was recognized that ‘Neutral’ and ‘Alexandrian’ are just two names for the same thing (specifically, two phases of the same text), and the ‘Syrian’ text was relabelled, thereby giving us the three types of text that we know today: the Alexandrian, the Byzantine, and the Western. (Some scholars have also proposed a fourth text, the Caesarean, but its very existence soon came into question by others.)

The Alexandrian text is associated with Egypt and is the one that predominates in most of the earliest surviving manuscripts (many of which admittedly came from Egypt, where hot and dry conditions helped preserve ancient texts which would normally have rotted away) and in Coptic versions. It was also the version used by the Alexandrian fathers such as Origen, Clement, St. Athanasius, Didymus the Blind, and St. Cyril. Out of the textual versions the Alexandrian is the most restrained: its readings tend to be shorter, and have a lower tendency to expand or paraphrase. Modern critical editions of the New Testament, following Westcott and Hort’s lead, tend to use the Alexandrian text as a base, and these critical editions are the source text for most modern translations of the NT.

The Western text is mainly associated with the Latin West (north Africa, Italy, Gaul - modern France), although some manuscripts and versions exhibiting this text have also been found in the East such as Egypt and Syria. The version is apparent in the gospels, Acts, and the Pauline epistles; general epistles and Revelation probably did not have a Western form of text. In Greek, the text is found chiefly in manuscripts that also contain the text in Latin (such as Codex Bezae and [Codex Claromontanus](“Codex Claromontanus”); cf. also the later Augiensis and Boernerianus). In Latin, it is attested in Vetus Latina translations as well as Latin writers (such as Marcion, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Cyprian, Augustine, Jerome, Ambrose, Pelagius; but cf. also Justin Martyr). One of the defining characteristics of this version is how it plays loose with the text, favoring extensive paraphrase and expansion.


#16

Continuing:

The Byzantine text is the form found in the largest number of surviving manuscripts, though not in the oldest: there are only six manuscripts earlier than the 9th century which conform to the Byzantine text, but in most instances they only attest to the version in the gospels (cf. Codex Alexandrinus). The first writers to have cited the Byzantine text substantial in quotations is St. John Chrysostom (ca. 349-407) and the Arian Asterius the Sophist (died ca. 341), although some Byzantine readings could already be found among earlier witnesses (who otherwise followed other text-types or none). This version seems to also underlie the Gothic translation by Ulfilas (d. 383) and the Syriac Peshitta (ca. 5th century), although both also exhibit Alexandrian and/or Western readings. The Byzantine text is a smooth combination of the characteristics of the Alexandrian and the Western texts. Byzantine readings tend to show a greater tendency toward smooth and well-formed Greek and display fewer instances of textual variation between parallel synoptic passages, being less likely to present difficult passages and more likely to harmonize. The so-called Textus Receptus is mainly based upon late manuscripts of the Byzantine text (although the TR does have its own differences from the Byzantine), and so many people might be familiar with the Byzantine text indirectly via the KJV.

The Caesarean text is a bit sketchy because there are no 'pure' Caesarean texts; instead what we have are manuscripts which display a consistent pattern of variant readings that are not found in other text-types but which otherwise 'belong' to the other texts. The existence of the Caesarean text is based mainly on the testimony of Origen (who settled in Caesarea after he was banished from Alexandria), who wrote about manuscripts of Matthew available to him in Caesarea reading "Jesus Barabbas" instead of simply "Barabbas." Otherwise the Caesarean readings have a mildly paraphrastic tendency that seems to place them between the more concise Alexandrian and the more expansive Western texts. Since we have no evidence for any common distinctive readings in the other books of NT, the Caesarean - if it does exist - might be limited only to the gospels.

Taking a slight break here.


#17

[quote="patrick457, post:16, topic:341027"]
Continuing:

The Byzantine text is the form found in the largest number of surviving manuscripts, though not in the oldest: there are only six manuscripts earlier than the 9th century which conform to the Byzantine text, but in most instances they only attest to the version in the gospels (cf. Codex Alexandrinus). The first writers to have cited the Byzantine text substantial in quotations is St. John Chrysostom (ca. 349-407) and the Arian Asterius the Sophist (died ca. 341), although some Byzantine readings could already be found among earlier witnesses (who otherwise followed other text-types or none). This version seems to also underlie the Gothic translation by Ulfilas (d. 383) and the Syriac Peshitta (ca. 5th century), although both also exhibit Alexandrian and/or Western readings. The Byzantine text is a smooth combination of the characteristics of the Alexandrian and the Western texts. Byzantine readings tend to show a greater tendency toward smooth and well-formed Greek and display fewer instances of textual variation between parallel synoptic passages, being less likely to present difficult passages and more likely to harmonize. The so-called Textus Receptus is mainly based upon late manuscripts of the Byzantine text (although the TR does have its own differences from the Byzantine), and so many people might be familiar with the Byzantine text indirectly via the KJV.

The Caesarean text is a bit sketchy because there are no 'pure' Caesarean texts; instead what we have are manuscripts which display a consistent pattern of variant readings that are not found in other text-types but which otherwise 'belong' to the other texts. The existence of the Caesarean text is based mainly on the testimony of Origen (who settled in Caesarea after he was banished from Alexandria), who wrote about manuscripts of Matthew available to him in Caesarea reading "Jesus Barabbas" instead of simply "Barabbas." Otherwise the Caesarean readings have a mildly paraphrastic tendency that seems to place them between the more concise Alexandrian and the more expansive Western texts. Since we have no evidence for any common distinctive readings in the other books of NT, the Caesarean - if it does exist - might be limited only to the gospels.

Taking a slight break here.

[/quote]

Patrick457 - You appear to be well versed on the subject of ancient manuscripts! Can you suggest any good books on the subject so I may further my research?


#18

On the subject of textual criticism there’s Philip Comfort’s Encountering the Manuscripts: An Introduction to New Testament Paleography & Textual Criticism, Keith Elliott and Ian Moir’s Manuscripts and the Text of the New Testament: An Introduction for English Readers or David Alan Black’s New Testament Textual Criticism: A Concise Guide There’s also this website.

BTW you might have heard about Bart Ehrman, but I don’t recommend reading his books on the subject, especially if you’re new on these things. Granted, much of what his ideas aren’t really ‘new’ or ‘revolutionary’ - they have been current in New Testament and early Christian scholarship for quite some time - it is his style of presentation that I have a problem with. So far as I can tell he’s okay in some of his works geared towards scholars - he could use the ambiguous, diplomatic language (i.e. using understatements and weakening adverbs like “likely,” “probably,” or “maybe” ;)) academics often like to use in their tomes or journals. But in his books geared toward a popular audience (that’s the one good thing about him: not too many scholars can write books the layman who can’t decipher their language could understand) he tends to assert his view dogmatically as the only correct one, summarily dismissing other possible opposing views (although there are also scholars who disagree with him), and to sensationalize his view. Given the things he claims in his books it might confuse first-time readers.


#19

Well back to the subject! First let's repeat the passage in question, shall we?

Now it happened, in the fulfillment of the days of his being taken up, that he himself also set his face to journey to Jerusalem, and sent out messengers before his face. And journeying on, they entered a village of Samaritans to prepare for him; and they did not receive him because his face was journeying toward Jerusalem. (54) Now when his disciples James and John saw, they said, "Lord, do you want us to order fire to come down from the sky and consume them [just as Elijah did]]?" (55) But turning, he rebuked them [and said, "You do not know what kind of spirit you are of, for the son of man did not come to destroy people's lives, but to save."]] (56) And they went on to another village.

There are actually two variants in this passage: the presence or absence of the words enclosed in double brackets. I'll leave the other one ("just as Elijah did") aside for now and focus on the second one.

The earliest manuscripts of Luke, in papyrus (Papyrus 45 and Papyrus 75, from the late 2nd-mid 3rd century) omit verse 55b-56, as do uncial manuscripts from the 4th-5th century like Codex Sinaiticus and Vaticanus (deemed to be very important witnesses to the text since Westcott and Hort). A good deal of these early manuscripts are from Egypt - home of the Alexandrian text-type. The 5th century Codex Alexandrinus, which is our earliest Byzantine witness to the gospels, also does not have this passage.

('Uncial' is basically a manuscript written entirely in capital letters - SOMETHINGPRETTYMUCHLIKETHIS. 'Uncial script' or 'majuscule' is really just what we would call upper-case letters; lower-case letters or 'minuscule' did not enjoy popular use until around the 9th century or later, so many New Testament uncials - but not all - tend to date pretty early. We could also say that papyrus manuscripts of the New Testament are written in uncial letters as well, but the term 'uncial' when applied to a manuscript refers specifically to those written on parchment or vellum as opposed to papyrus.)

Here's a list of manuscripts and versions which do not have the text, arranged in roughly chronological order: Greek manuscripts first, then the other witnesses. In the brackets is given first the manuscript's siglum (a single letter code for concise reference), followed by the date of the manuscript, its possible place(s) of origin (or in some cases, where it was found or first attested) where applicable, and the character of the text.

Papyri

Papyrus 75 (ca. 175-225; Egypt; Alexandrian text)
Papyrus 45 (ca. 250; Egypt; text undetermined; eclectic)

Uncials

Codex Vaticanus (B, ca. 325-350; Egypt; Alexandrian text)
Codex Sinaiticus (א, ca. 330-360; Egypt/Caesarea; Alexandrian text)
Codex Washingtonianus (W; ca. 400; Egypt; eclectic, Byzantine in Luke 8:13-24:53)
Codex Alexandrinus (A, 5th c.; Egypt/Caesarea/Beirut; Byzantine text in gospels)
Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus (C, ca. 450; Egypt/Palestine; Alexandrian text with Byzantine readings in the gospels; textual character of Luke is unclear)
Codex Zacynthius (Ξ, ca. 550; found in Zakynthos/Zante, Greece; mostly Alexandrian text)
Uncial 0211 (0211, 7th c.; unknown - currently in Tbilisi, Georgia; Byzantine text)
Codex Regius (L, 8th c.; Egypt; Alexandrian text with large number of Byzantine readings in Matthew)
Uncial 047 (047, 8th c.; found in Mount Athos; Byzantine text)
Codex Athous Lavrensis (8th/9th c.; found in the Great Lavra in Mount Athos, Greece; eclectic, predominantly Byzantine in Luke and John with Alexandrian readings)
Codex Sangallensis (Δ, 9th c.; Abbey Library of Saint Gall, Switzerland; Byzantine text, with an Alexandrian text for Mark)
Codex Monacensis (X, 9th/10th c.; first attested in Rome; Byzantine text with occasional Alexandrian readings)

Minuscules

Minuscule 33 (9th c., Alexandrian text in the gospels with some Byzantine readings)
Minuscule 565 (9th c.; the Black Sea area; Caesarean text)
Minuscule 892 (9th c.; Alexandrian text with some Byzantine readings)
Minuscule 1424 (9th/10th c., found in Drama (Kosinitza), Greece; Byzantine text with Alexandrian and Caesarean readings)
Minuscule 28 (11th c.; Byzantine text with Caesarean text in Mark)
Minuscule 157 (1122, written for Byzantine emperor John II Komnenos; eclectic text with strong Alexandrian element)


#20

Minuscule 1071 (12th c., currently in Iviron Monastery, Mount Athos)
Minuscule 1241 (12th c., currently in St. Catherine’s Monastery in Sinai, Egypt)
Minuscule 1342 (13th/14th c., currently in Mar Saba Monastery, Jerusalem)
Minuscule 1675 (14th c., currently in St. Panteleimon’s Monastery, Mount Athos)

Family E of Byzantine Manuscripts (Uncials)

Codex Basilensis (E[sup]e[/sup], 8th c.; Constantinople?)
Codex Seidelianus I (G, 9th c.; Byzantine text with Caesarean readings)
Codex Seidelianus II (H; 9th c.)

Family K[sup]1[/sup] of Byzantine Manuscripts (Uncials)

Codex Vaticanus 354 (S, 949)
Codex Mosquensis II (V, 9th c.)
Codex Athous Dionysiou (Ω, 9th c.; currently in Dionysiou Monastery in Mount Athos)

Latin

Codex Fuldensis (F, ca. 545; Latin Vulgate, gospels in a harmonized form)
Codex Rehdingeranus (l, ca. 750; Vetus Latina with Vulgate readings)
Codex Sangermanensis I (g[sup]1[/sup], 822; Latin Vulgate with Vetus Latina text for Matthew)

Syriac Sinaiticus (late 4th century)
Coptic (Sahidic)
Ethiopian manuscripts

Authors

St. Basil the Great (329/330-379)

Those are the witnesses which omit 55b-56a. Witnesses which include the text in question are divided: some have only 55b, others have only 56a, while still others (the majority) have both. Manuscripts in the Bohairic dialect of Coptic have only 56b. As for those which only have 55a, we have the 5th century Greek and Latin Codex Bezae (D, Western text), St. John Chrysostom (c. 347-407), and St. Epiphanius of Salamis (ca. 310-320 - 403).

All the rest have both verses. In Greek uncials, it begins to pop up in manuscripts dating from around the 9th century such as Codex Koridethi (Θ), Codex Campianus (M), Petropolitanus (Π). Most Syriac versions and Latin manuscripts also contain these verses, plus the Armenian and the Gothic versions. Our very first explicit witness to this text is St. Ambrose of Milan (ca. 340-397), although it is likely that it was already known to the 2nd century heretic Marcion, who had produced his own version of the gospel of Luke.

Having a break.


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