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Matthew chapter 20 verse 15 variant

What is going on here in Matthew 20:15? The Majority text reads:

Ἢ οὐκ ἔξεστίν μοι ποιῆσαι ὃ θέλω ἐν τοῖς ἐμοῖς; Εἰ ὁ ὀφθαλμός σου πονηρός ἐστιν, ὅτι ἐγὼ ἀγαθός εἰμι;

Here are the two significant variants in the verse, showing only witnesses 8th century and earlier:

η ουκ…ει ο οφθαλμος lat Chrysostom TR RP η ουκ…η ο οφθαλμος ℵ C E N W Σ Φ 085 syr-p,h cop-sa TH [NA28] ουκ…η ο οφθαλμος B* D L Z SBL ουκ…ει ο οφθαλμος B² ‖ lac A P 0233 0281. 

All the witnesses above except B D L Z SBL begin the sentence with the Greek word Ἢ, “or.” Then the TR and Majority text for the second variant read ει, a marker for a direct question. What I am pointing out is that none of the English translations based on the Majority reading translate the word Ἢ as “or.”

BUT, neither do the English translations based on the second reading, which has the Greek word η for both variants, neither do they appear to render their text as it is found.

Practically none of the English translations translate the first η as “or.” 

The translations supposedly based on the TR / Majority text, at first seem to read as the Vaticanus corrector. (ουκ…ει ο οφθαλμος B²). The English translations from the Syriac, the Etheridge and Murdock translations, also seem to read as B².

The EMTV, “English Majority Text Version, reads as the SBL text.

We have seen that none of the English translations translate the first η as “or.”  But they are probably not following the reading of B* D L Z Θ SBL. The BDF grammar in Sec. 440 (3) says a simple interrogative ἦ does not exist in the NT.  In Sec. 440 (1) DeBrunner gives four examples in the NT of “simple interrogative ἤ,” Matt. 20:15, 26:53; 1 Cor. 9:8; 2 Cor. 11:7.  This must be how the first η is being interpreted.

Get rid of the noise

And a great and strong wind ripped the mountains, and broke into pieces the rocks before Yahweh; but Yahweh was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake; but Yahweh was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire; but Yahweh was not in the fire. And after the fire, there was a still, small voice. And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entrance of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice to him, and it said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

Review of the movie Religulous

I just watched the movie Religulous, because I like Bill Maher.

He had some humorous and true criticisms of various religions, and did a good job of pointing out the typical denial of obvious reality on the part of Muslims.

He was humorously wrong about several things, however.

1. He said the book of “Revelations” instead of Revelation.

2. Bill Maher said Megiddo is quiet and peaceful. (Megiddo is the place that the battle of Armageddon is to take place.) Of course Megiddo is quiet, Bill, because according to the Bible, the battle of Armageddon does not take place until many other things happen first. The tribulation has to take place first, before Armageddon, and that Tribulation cannot happen until many other things happen.

3. In his movie Religulous, Bill Maher said emphatically that it is a fact that there is no historical evidence that Jesus actually existed. This is nonsense, as the historians Tacitus and Josephus, plus the gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, attest to his existence. Not to mention a lot of people who knew him and passed it on.

4. Mr. Maher declared as if it was undisputed fact, that the men who wrote the Gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, did not know Jesus personally. He is just plain wrong, because the fact is Matthew, Mark and John all knew Jesus personally, and John knew him extremely well. Neither Bill Maher nor the movie Religulous offers any proof of this claim that the gospel writers did not know Jesus. On the other hand, the fact that they did know Jesus is well proven. The movie Religulous is an entertaining movie, but a factually true documentary it is not.

5. Bill made a big deal of the fact that the virgin birth of Jesus was in only two gospels, as if this were a contradiction. This is an example of the silliest arguments of atheists, but I suppose we should answer them. Bill thinks he has a touché point, that what historian and editor would choose to leave out the virgin birth in their story, if it were true? Well, Mark and John would. Why? Because people already had Matthew. John wrote his gospel when people already had Matthew, Mark and Luke. The gospel writers produced differing gospels, with differing goals, emphases, and different target audiences. Otherwise, why have 4 of them?

6. Bill thinks he has another sure touché point, when he says about Lot, a man that offered his daughters to be raped in order to prevent the homosexual rape of the two visiting men (angels), Imagine that; he was the good guy in the story. Because of this, he says, he couldn’t swear on such a disgusting book as the Bible. Well Bill, just because the Bible honestly portrays what actually happened in the life of a man, that does not mean the Bible endorses that action of that man. In fact, Lot is considered a very weak, marginal believer in the Bible and by Christians. But the other thing you are not realizing about the Lot story, is that that shows how unimaginably wicked Lot considered the act of a man “having sex” with another man would be. In other words, though rape of his daughters would be horrible, the homosexual act that the men of Sodom wanted to do, was even that much worse, and that urgently to be avoided.

7. Bill made a big deal of his argument that Jesus’ story parallels closely that of Horus of Egyptian mythology. Except that it does not, Bill. See Wikipedia for a debunking of this theory of identical mythological origins of Horus and Jesus.

8. Maher showed by the things he said in the movie that he thinks the meaning of life is sex. He essentially said that people who are religious are people who resort to that because they are losers who cannot get sex. This kind of thinking devalues all higher thinking and learning and endeavors, and makes Bill Maher no higher than an animal.

Bottom line is Religulous is an entertaining movie, but Maher’s main points about Christianity are certainly not accurate.

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