Where did this come from: Elizabeth said the Magnificat?


#1

HI:

I have a copy of the “One Year Bible-Catholic edition” (I think it was published by Zondervan or some other Protestant publishing house-I don’t have it in front of me.) In it, there’s a footnote at the Magnificat that says something on the order of: "in some sources, Elizabeth said."
It’s the only place I have ever seen quoting anyone but Mary. Does anyone know anything about this?

Thanks and God bless,


#2

Elizabeth never declared the Magnificat. It was Mary.
See: newadvent.org/cathen/09534a.htm ewtn.com/library/montfort/Handbook/Magnifi.htm and catholic.org/featured/headline.php?ID=3006


#3

To quote from “The Gospel of Luke: a commentary on the Greek text” by I. Howard Marshall:

In place of Μαριάμ the reading Elisabet is found in a number of Latin sources in v. 46 (a b l* Irenlat lat MSS known to Origen Niceta; see UBS). The evidence for the variant is extremely weak. There is no Greek support for it, and the testimony of Irenaeus is divided (AH 3:10:2; 4:7:1). Although ‘Elizabeth’ is the harder reading, the external evidence seems decisive against it. Few have been willing to accept it (Klostermann, 17), but its existence has suggested that originally no name stood in the text (cf. 1 Sa. 2:1; so A. Harnack*); no MS, however, supports the omission and UBS retains the original reading (Metzger, 130f.).

Despite the weak textual evidence a number of scholars have argued that Elizabeth was regarded as the author of the hymn (A. Harnack*; Findlay, 134; F.C. Burkitt; Klostermann, 17; Creed, 22f.; J.G. Davies*; Drury, 30; Danker, 15): 1. Elizabeth, the childless woman, is a better antitype to Hannah (whose hymn is echoed here) than Mary. 2. For the same reason could speak more fittingly of her ‘humiliation’ than Mary (1:48; cf. 1 Sa. 1:11; Gn. 16:11; 29:32). 3. The hymn would give a parallel to the Benedictus spoken by John’s father. 4. The mention of Mary in 1:56 implies a change of subject from the previous section. 5. The use of δούλη “bondservant”; traditionally “handmaid”] makes Mary an antitype of Hannah; its occurence in 1:48 could have led to the hymn becoming wrongly attributed to Mary. 6. ‘Elizabeth’ is the harder reading, and the change to ‘Mary’ can be explained on doctrinal grounds as being due to increasing veneration for Mary.

The arguments are insufficient to give weight to a case which is already weak on textual grounds. 1. It is unlikely that Elizabeth would speak in her own favour after what she has said in 1:41-45. Hannah’s hymn is the one suitable model in the OT for a woman’s praise to God for the gift of a son, and hence it would be quite fitting on the lips of Mary. 2. ταπείνωσις can simply mean ‘lowly state’ and does not necessarily refer to childlessness. Other sentiments in the hymn (1:48b) would be exaggerated on the lips of Elizabeth. 3. Elizabeth’s expression of thanks to God for her own son would come more fittingly at 1:25, and her present prophetic inspiration finds ample expression in 1:41-45. Admittedly, Bultmann, 323, would like to move the hymn in 1:25, but no evidence supports this conjecture. In fact the structure of the narrative requires that the hymn be assigned to Mary: it elaborates and underlines the first part of the scene, which is concerned with the annunciation and not with the birth of John. Some sort of reply to Elizabeth from Mary is appropriate (Ellis, 75). 4. The repetition of the name of the preceding subject in 1:56 is paralleled in OT style (Nu. 24:25; Dt. 32:44; 2 Sa. 2:1; et al.; Schmid, 53f) and the style of the introduction favours Mary as subject (Schürmann, I, 73, n. 211). 5. J.G. Davie’s argument has force only when the hymn has been plausibly assigned to Elizabeth on other grounds. 6. It would need only one scribe, convinced by the earlier arguments, to be responsible for the change to ‘Elizabeth’ in a small part of the textual tradition. The reverse change presupposes an early veneration of Mary which is unattested. The hymn should, then, be attributed to Mary (Harvey, 227f.).


#4

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.