By J. F. Springer, New York
Probable Origin of the Nine Matthaean Doublets
It is proposed, in the present instalment, to show by actual examples that interpolation from the same or other Gospels is quite sufficient to account for the presence in Matthew of the nine troublesome doublets to be found in that document. That is to say, it is planned to exhibit numerous instances of Gospel doublets undoubtedly due to interpolation from the combined text of the Four Gospels. These instances of doublets are cases of duplication that have arisen in the course of the transmission of the four documents from ancient times down through the centuries—doublets that have lived a longer or shorter life, and that, for the most part, are not to be found in modern critical editions. They will be sufficient in number and in extent of distribution to make it clear that they are the natural product of the conditions of manuscript transmission of writings having the character of our Four Gospels.
These doublets owe their disappearance, no doubt, to an origin at a time when a number of lines of more or less independent transmission were already established and when in consequence they would later on die out for want of adequate corroboration. The nine doublets in Matthew are phenomena of a more permanent character. That is to say, they are well supported by the MSS. Consequently, they are to be referred, in respect to their origin, to a very remote period—to a time, say, antecedent to the latest common ancestor of our great documentary authorities for the Gospel text. If it is desired that a limited period be named, I would venture to suggest the century preceding 160 A. D.
Apparently, it is impossible to demonstrate conclusively that they arose through interpolation; but it may be shown that causes competent to their production were at work as early as the times in which our most ancient Gospel authorities, other than mere fragments of MSS., were produced by their scribes. It seems reasonable to suppose that the same causes were operative still earlier and that they then gave rise to the nine doublets which we find in highly attested texts of Matthew.
It has been noted that the Gospel of Mark—that is, the Gospel of Mark in modern critical editions—contains a lesser number of doublets than either of the other Synoptic documents. And the examples of transient doublets presently to be given are fewer for this Gospel than those listed for Matthew or Luke. Whether, upon an exhaustive examination of all extant MSS., this would still be true, is naturally unknown. However, any comparative fewness of doublets in Mark, whether of those attested by the oldest and best documents or whether of those supported by an insufficiency of authorities, may readily be understood upon giving due weight to the three following considerations—(1) the relative shortness of Mark as compared with the other Synoptic Gospels; (2) the lesser attention which the ancients seem to have paid to Mark; and (3) the comparatively small amount of discourse that occurs in this Gospel when conjoined with the fact that most known doublets are concerned with sayings of the Lord.
The doublets which I am about to list are examples of duplication which are to be found, generally, in a single MS. or in a group which seems to possess a lesser total authority than that of the combination of MSS. which do not contain the doublet. That is to say, the doublets about to be listed are to be considered not as duplications which were present in the autographs, but rather as pairs of similar passages, one member at least of each pair having originated in the course of the process of transmission from copy to copy and in consequence of this process being operative upon texts of the character of those of the Four Gospels. These documents parallel one another to a considerable extent especially the Synoptics. And the individual writings each contain repetitions of similar situations. There are in consequence opportunities for interpolations from one Gospel into another and from one part of a Gospel into another part of the same document. We might, accordingly, expect to find, in the great mass of Greek, Latin, and other MSS., a number containing an interpolation, from the same Gospel or from one of the remaining three Gospel writings, of such character that it would duplicate to a greater or lesser extent a passage found in another part of the selfsame Gospel as presented by the MS. In such cases, we would have a doublet. This reasonable expectation as to the presence of doublets in the MSS. is found, upon examination, to be in accordance with the facts.
Some of these, no doubt, are to be ascribed to a conscious or an unconscious tendency of a scribe to add something from his memory when engaged in his work of copying from an exemplar. Others are rather to be attributed to a double process—the first part consisting of an innocent quotation accurately or inaccurately made and duly placed in the margin; and the second part consisting in a later inclusion of the marginal matter in the main text in consequence of an impression existing in the scribe’s mind that the text in the margin really belonged in the principal text and had a marginal position only because it had been omitted by the preceding scribe. Whatever the causes at work, the MSS. of the Gospels do contain very many interpolations which reproduce the language or an approximation to the language occurring either in the same Gospel or else in one of the remaining three. When the interpolation duplicates matter found elsewhere in the MS. and in the very same Gospel, we have, for that MS., a doublet.
It will readily be seen that the original writer had nothing to do with the production, under these circumstances, of the phenomenon of duplication. He wrote the words once and that once in proper position. Some later person or persons brought about the repetition of the language. The two passages constituted, at this later time, a doublet, which was not existent in the autograph.
I proceed presently to list a considerable number of doublets, which should, it seems, convince us that the formation of these examples of duplication was a very real process attendant upon the process of transmitting by MSS. the documents originally written by the authors of the Four Gospels. These are, none of them, doublets that are sufficiently attested to warrant the claim that they were undoubtedly existent in the autographic text. In fact, in nearly all cases, they are doublets which, upon the evidence of the Greek copies, the MSS. of versions, and other evidence available to textual criticism, have no right to a place in recensions of the Greek text of the Four Gospels. They are, accordingly, to be viewed as doublets which came into existence through the process of interpolation.
Before presenting the actual examples, I give a tabular statement as to the MSS. and versions concerned, the abbreviations used to designate them, and other information of service in studying the instances.
Manuscripts Containing The Whole Or Part Of The Four Gospels
Latin Manuscripts Of The Pre-Vulgate Version Or Versions
Doublets That Are To Be Ascribed To Interpolation
A. Mt. 5:16, 45; 6:1; 7:11. your Father who is in the heavens
8. Mt. 10:25. your Father who is in the heavens
Copt S Copt N b aur g1 Armagh
A. Mt. 5:32. and whosoever shall marry her when she is put away committeth adultery
B. Mt. 19:9. and he that marrieth her when she is put away commiteth adultery
B Vulg W f Copt N Θ 1 c
A. Mt. 8:4; 10:18. for a testimony unto them
B. Mt. 10:14. for a testimony unto them
A. Mt. 8:24. for the wind was contrary to them
B. Mt. 14:24. for the wind was contrary
Lich Kells Eger Armagh
A. Mt. 9:28. and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this unto you? They say unto him, Yea, Lord.
B. Mt. 20:33. And Jesus said unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? And they answered him, Yea, Lord
A. Mt. 9:35. and many followed him
B. Mt. 12:15. and many followed him a b L g1
A. Mt. 10:22. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved
B. Mt. 24:9. and ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake, but he that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved
C + C1 M + M (bottom of page).
A. Mt. 11:15; 13:9, 43. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear
B. Mt. 25:29. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear
+ CC3 F+F2 (interlineation) G+G2 M+M (margin) V+V2
A. Mt. 14:33. and worshipped him
B. Mt. 14:35. worshipped him a b ff2 c
A. Mt. 20:16. For many are called, but few chosen
B. Mt. 22:14. And many are called, but few chosen
Vulg W, SyrS Syr C C D f q g1 Θ 1
A. Mk. 1:34. For they knew that he was Christ
B. Mk. 3:12. For they knew that he was Christ
A. Mk. 2:11. go unto thy house
B. Mk. 8:26. go unto thy house
Vulg. a b D f q ff2 Θ 69
A. Mk. 3:14, and he ordained . . . that he should send them to preach the gospel
B. Mk. 3:15. and that as they went about they should preach the gospel of God
e Lich Armagh
A. Mk. 4:23. If any man hath ears to hear, let him hear
B. Mk. 7:16. If any man hath ears to hear, let him hear
Vulg. A b i Aeth V f r ff2
A. Mk. 4:24. and more shall be given unto you that hear
B. Mk. 4:25. and more shall be given unto you
A. Mk. 9:44, 46. where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched
B. Mk. 9:48. where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched
Goth Vulg Syr Pesh A D f N ff2 Θ X c 579
A. Mk. 13:2. and after three days another will rise without hands
B. Mk. 14:58. and after the third day I will raise another made without hands
a W D k ff2 c
A. Lk. 1:28. blessed art thou among women
B. Lk. 1:42. Blessed art thou among women
a Goth Vulg Syr Pesh b A C D f r
Aeth l ff2 Syr Hel Θ Δ c
A. Lk. 8:8. As he said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear
B. Lk. 12:21; 21:4. As he said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear
H Γ Δ
A. Lk. 9:14. for they were become five thousand men
B. Lk. 9:17. and these folk that ate of that bread were about five thousand besides women and children
A. Lk. 9:56. The Son of man came not to destroy men’s lives but to save them
B. Lk. 19:10. For the Son of man came to save and to seek that which was lost
a Vulg b Syr Pesh Syr C e f Copt N
Syr Hel Θ 1 c
A. Lk. 10:42. And it came to pass, as he said these things, a certain woman out of the multitude lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the breasts which thou didst suck. But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it
B. Lk. 11:27–28. And it came to pass, as he said these things, a certain woman out of the multitude lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the breasts which thou didst suck. But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it
A. Lk. 13:18–19. Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I liken it? It is like
B. Lk. 13:20. Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I liken [it]? It is like
A. Lk. 13:28. There shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth
B. Lk. 19:27. There shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth
A. Lk. 15:17. But when he came to himself he said
B. Lk. 18:4. he came to himself and saith
A. Lk. 22:32. and pray that ye enter not into temptation
B. Lk. 22:40, 46. Pray that ye enter not into temptation
a b e i q ff2 Rush c
A. Jn. 1:15, 30. He who comes after me is preferred before me, because he was before me
B. Jn. 1:27. He who comes after me is preferred before me; the latchet of whose shoe I am not worthy to loose
a Vulg f Syr Pesh Syr Hcl e c
A. Jn. 1:19. when the Jews went unto him from Jerusalem priests and Levites
B. Jn. 3:28. that were sent to me from Jerusalem
A. Jn. 1:27. he shall baptize you in the Holy Spirit and in fire
B. Jn. 1:33. the same is he that baptizeth in the Holy Spirit
N E F G
A. Jn. 1:29. he seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold, the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world
B. Jn. 1:36. and looking upon Jesus walking, he saith, Behold, the Lamb of God; behold, he that taketh away the sin of the world
a C Aeth ff2 aur
A. Jn. 2:23. when they beheld the signs which he did on them that were sick
B. Jn. 6:2. because they beheld the many signs which he did on the sick
A. Jn. 3:6. because God is a spirit
B. Jn. 4:24. God is a Spirit
a Syr C e Usser ff2 aur Kells
A. Jn. 3:15. that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life
B. Jn. 3:16. that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life
Vulg b A e q r Syr Hcl ff2
E Θ A c 579 69
A. Jn. 4:50. Go unto thy house
B. Jn. 5:8. go unto thy house
A. Jn. 5:16. And for this cause the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill him
B. Jn. 5:18. For this cause therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him
A Syr Pesh e f Aeth Syr Hcl Θ
A. Jn. 7:28–29. whom ye do not know: I know him; and if I shall say that I know him not, I shall be like unto you, a liar: and I know him
B. Jn. 8:55. and ye have not known him: but I know him; and if I shall say that I know him not, I shall be like unto you a liar: but I know him
A. Jn. 7:30. They sought therefore to take him: and he went forth out of their hand
B. Jn. 10:39. They sought again to take him: and he went forth out of their hand
A. Jn. 7:33; 16:5. and (But now) I go unto him that sent me
B. Jn. 13:33. and I go unto him that sent me
A. Jn. 7:34, 36. Ye shall seek me, and shall not find (me)
B. Jn. 8:21. and ye shall seek me, and shall not find me
N Copt N 1
A. Jn. 11:50. that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that all the nation perish not
B. Jn. 18:14. That it is expedient that one man die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not
A. Jn. 12:28. Father, glorify thy name with the glory which I had with thee before the world became
B. Jn. 17:5. And now, Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world became
A. Jn. 13:16–18. Neither [is] one that is sent greater than he by whom he was sent. If ye know these things, blessed are ye if ye will do them. I speak not of you all; I know whom I have chosen
B. Jn. 15:20. Neither [is] one that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye will do them. I speak not of you all; I know whom I have chosen
A. Jn. 11:16; 20:24; 21:2. Thomas, who is called Didymus
B. Jn. 14:5. Thomas, who is called Didymus
A. Jn. 14:13. that will I do, that the father may be glorified in the Son
B. Jn. 15:16. [in order that] ... I may do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son
A. Jn. 18:13. Annas therefore sent him bound unto Caiaphas the chief of the priests
B. Jn. 18:24. Annas therefore sent him bound unto Caiaphas the chief of the priests
A. Jn. 20:30. which are not written in this book
B. Jn. 21:25. which are not written in this book
A. Jn. 20:30. after that he rose from the dead
B. Jn. 21:14. after that he rose from the dead
A. Jn. 21:22. what is that to thee? follow thou me
B. Jn. 21:23. what is that to thee? follow thou me
We have, in the foregoing, forty-eight instances of duplications existent in certain MSS. Very few, if any, of these have back of them documentary evidence sufficient to make it all probable that they stood, as doublets, in the autographs. That is to say, we have before us about forty-eight illustrations of doublets produced by interpolation.
In three cases, the process is incomplete, at least in so far as particular MSS. are concerned, one part of the doublet still appearing as matter entered subsequently to the original preparation of the MS.
Thus, in No. 8, we have an instructive example of what certainly appears to be illustrative of doublet formation through interpolation. The great palimpsest, Codex C, was free of the doublet when, in the fifth century, the MS. was completed by the original scribe or scribes. If Tischendorf was right in dating the corrector C3 in the ninth century, we have a prolonged period of some four hundred years during which there was no doublet. Then this corrector introduced at the bottom of the page the words, “As he said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Allowing that the words, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear,” occurred at Mt. 11:15, 13:9 and 13:43 in the autograph, we have, upon taking into consideration the additional occurrence at the bottom of the page containing Mt. 25:39, a new duplication. For a period of four centuries, the exhortation as to hearing appeared at three points in chapters eleven and thirteen. Then, in the ninth century, the moment came when the MS., consisting of the uncorrected text plus the corrections of the ninth century corrector, possessed a new occurrence of the exhortation. F2 introduces the exhortation by way of interlineation of the text at Mt. 25:29, the addition being made in red letters; so that the document F+F- contains the doublet. Similarly, the writings G-fG2 and V+V2 also contain the same duplication. The MS. denoted by M likewise has the doublet; only, in this case, the saying constituting an addition to Mt. 25:29 appears in the margin in red letters. In the five documentary occurrences of duplication listed under No. 8, we see the process of doublet formation at a stage prior to the final one. The second member of the doublet is not yet fairly in place in the main text. Doubtless, in any copies which may have been made from the five documents, the doublet appeared, just as the nine duplications of Matthew now do in Gospel MSS., with no outward indication to betray the fact that one part was not present in the autograph. In Nos. 7 and 22, we have other examples where the doublet is existent but has not yet reached the final stage.
We have before us forty-eight examples of doublets in MSS. of the Gospels. Three occur under such circumstances that we appear to have in them illustrations of a general process to which we may ascribe the formation of the remaining forty-five. That is to say, the forty-five seem to owe their origin first to the appearance of one member in the margin, at the bottom of the page, or in the space between lines; and then, in a later copy, to the transfer of this member to the main text.
But, we are not tied up to this process. I am engaged in the business of showing that the nine doublets of Matthew occurred because one member in each instance is an interpolation. The interpolation may, or may not, have taken place because the matter interpolated once was on the page in a marginal position or was so marked or otherwise so placed as to make it clear that it was not a part of the main text as inscribed by the copyist. It is sufficient that the one member be interpolated matter. It is not essential that the interpolation should have occurred in one way rather than another. If the one part of the doublet is interpolated, that is enough.
Now, the forty-five—or forty-eight—instances of duplication are, as to one member, so inadequately supported by documentary authorities that we must rate them as due to some process of interpolation. In all cases, or nearly all, the MSS. opposed to one member of the doublet constitute a distinctly weightier group of authorities than do those which make up the supporting group. Consequently, we view these members as interpolations.
We have arrived at a point where we may appeal to the evidence afforded by the forty-eight as the basis of an explanation of the nine Matthaean doublets. I say that these nine were probably formed in much the same way as the forty-eight—that is, through a process of interpolation.1 This explanation assumes as the operating cause one which later on is seen to be actually at work. That is, the same cause is assumed as productive, prior to 160 A. D., of the nine Matthaean doublets, that we find operating in producing the forty-eight in the period beginning with the origin of such early MSS. as the Codices Vercellensis and Vaticanus, and in such ancient versions as the Southern Coptic, the Old Syriac, the Gothic and the Latin Vulgate, and continuing down through the centuries. I set up what we may well assume as a known operating cause and point to it as the cause very probably responsible for the production of the nine doublets of Matthew. As a matter of logical fact, it is not necessary that I actually prove that the Matthaean doublets came into existence through interpolation. It is only necessary to show that this hypothesis is equal to that which proposes to account for them as the by-products of compilation. I have done this, and more. So that it is, I think, no longer permissible to point to the Matthaean doublets as evidence that the Gospel of Matthew is a book compiled from a plurality of sources.
1) One of the nine Matthaean doublets consists entirely of narrative matter. This is No. II and may be found on p. 86, Bibliotheca Sacra, January, 1927. Except for a few words, Mt. 4:23 is exactly duplicated at Mt. 9:35. In order to perceive how this doublet might very well have been formed through the agency of interpolation and at a time removed from that of original composition, it is only necessary to understand (1) that in the autograph Mt. 9:35 consisted merely of the words, “And Jesus went about all the cities and the villages;’ (2) that a subsequent reader or scribe, reminded of Mt. 4:23, by the fact that the first two words in Greek—Καὶ πεδιῆνεν—are the same in both, inserted the last eighteen words of the earlier passage in the margin, beginning with διδάσκων and (3) that later on a copyist incorporated the marginal matter in the main test.