Tag Archives: omission

Good Repentant Pharisees in Codex Bezae

In the gospel of Matthew chapter 21, verse 32, Jesus is talking to the Pharisees and scribes, and tells them,

“For John came to you with the way of righteousness, and you did not believe in him.  The revenue agents and prostitutes, however, did believe in him.  And you, when you saw that, did not subsequently have a change of heart and believe in him.”

However, some manuscripts say that the Pharisees DID subsequently have a change of heart and believe in him, that is, they omit the word “not” or “neither”:

21:32 txt ου “not” ℵ C E L W 𝔐 Or Chrys TR RP ουδε “not even; neither” B Σ Φ 0102 0233 lat syr-c,p,h eth Hil SBL TH NA28 omit D it-e,ff¹* syr-s  lac A N P Z 0281. 

I looked at the image of Codex D, and found several interesting things, and I made a snip of the manuscript, posted here.

First, the scribe of Codex D appears to have accidentally omitted the negative particle because of the fact that the two words before it and after it were the last word in the line in the column and then the first word in the next line: ιδοντες <> μετεμεληθητε. In this image, EΙΔΟΝΤΕC “when you saw,” is on the 4th line as the last word. Then next is where the negative particle ου was supposed to be. Then the 5th line at the left side of the column picks up with ΜΕΤΕΜΕΛΗΘΗΤΕ. So the scribe overlooked the small word ου because of the line break. This is not an uncommon occurrence in the Greek New Testament. This accidental error is a type of “parablepsis.”

I also noticed that our scribe changed the length of his lines so that he could start 5 lines in a row with the word ΚΑΙ, which you can see on lines 9-13. He also seems to have lengthened a couple lines above that, so that he could end 2 lines with the same words, EPISTEΥCATAIAUTW.

Matthw 21:30-35 approximately