Luke 6:1 ἐν σαββάτῳ δευτεροπρώτῳ

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Jonathan Robie
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Luke 6:1 ἐν σαββάτῳ δευτεροπρώτῳ

Post by Jonathan Robie » August 31st, 2014, 8:40 pm

Preparing for today's Sunday School class, I bumped into this curious phrase:
Luke 6 (Scrivener) wrote:Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν σαββάτῳ δευτεροπρώτῳ διαπορεύεσθαι αὐτὸν διὰ τῶν σπορίμων.
I see that this has been discussed previously (see the thread starting at
http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/b-gr ... 53116.html), but I still don't quite know what to make of it. Whether or not it is original, it presumably made sense to the person who inserted it into the text - what would it have meant?

Plummer's explanation seems as good as any I've seen, but is completely inconclusive:
This passage is a well-known crux in textual criticism and exegesis. Is δευτεροπρώτῳ part of the true text? If so, what does it mean ? The two questions to some extent overlap, but it is possible to treat them separately.
1. The external evidence is very much divided, but the balance is against the words being original.1 The reading is Western and Syrian, and "has no other clearly pre-Syrian authority than that of D a ff. The internal evidence is also divided. On the one hand, "The very obscurity of the expression, which does not occur in the parallel Gospels or elsewhere, attests strongly to its genuineness" (Scriv.), for "there is no reason which can explain the insertion of this word, while the reason for omitting it is obvious" (Tisch.)

On the other hand, "all known cases of probable omission on account of difficulty are limited to single documents or groups of restricted ancestry, bearing no resemblance to the attestation of text in either variety or excellence" (WH.). Moreover, if any sabbath had really borne this strange name, which is introduced without explanation as familiar to the readers, it would almost certainly have been found elsewhere, either in LXX, Philo, Josephus, or the Talmud. In the life of Eutychius (512-582) by his chaplain Eustathius δευτεροπρώτη κυριακή is used of the first Sunday after Easter, but the expression is obviously borrowed from this passage, and throws no light. In the whole of Greek literature, classical, Jewish, or Christian, no such word is found independently of this text. The often quoted δευτεροδεκάτη, "second tenth" (Hieron. ad Ez. xlv. 13), gives no help. The analogy of δευτερογἀμος, δευτεροτόκος, κτλ., suggests the meaning of " a sabbath which for a second time is first"; that of δευτεροέσχατος, which Heliodorus (apud Soran. Med. vet.) uses for "last but one," suggests the meaning "first but one," i.e. "second of two firsts." But what sense, suitable to the passage, can be obtained from either of these ? The more probable conclusion is that the word is spurious.
Wow, an interesting mystery! So how did this get there? He continues ...
How then did it get into the text and become so widely diffused ? The conjecture of Meyer is reasonable. An early copyist inserted πρώτῳ to explain ἐν ἑτέρῳ σαββάτῳ in ver. 6 ; this was corrected to δευτέρῳ because of iv. 31 and the next copyist, not understanding the correction, combined the two words. A few MSS. have the reading δευτέρῳ πρώτῳ, among them R (Cod. Nitriensis), a palimpsest of the sixth cent, in the British Museum. See Knight's Field.
But ... seriously? This implies that the phrase was written in by a copyist who had no idea what it meant? Surely it meant something to whoever wrote it, no? Plummer continues ...
2. If the word is genuine, what can be its meaning? Jerome put this question to Gregory Nazianzen, and the latter eleganter lusit, saying, Docebo te super hac re in ecclesia (Hieron. Ep. lii.).
OK, Latinists, can you translate that for me? Plummer continues ...
Of the numerous conjectures the following maybe mentioned as not altogether incredible. (1) The first sabbath of the second year in a sabbatical cycle of seven years. This theory of Wieseler has won many adherents. (2) The first sabbath in Nisan. The Jewish civil year began in Tisri, while the ecclesiastical year began in Nisan ; so that each year there were two first sabbaths, one according to civil, the other according to ecclesiastical reckoning : just as Advent Sunday and the first Sunday in January are each, from different points of view, the first Sunday in the year. It would be possible to call the second of the two "a second first Sunday." But would anyone use such language and expect to be understood? (3) The first sabbath of the second month. It is asserted that the story of David obtaining the shew-bread would often be in the lesson for that sabbath. But the lectionary of the synagogues in the time of Christ is unknown. See on iv. 17. For other guesses see Godet, McClellan, and Meyer. Most editors omit or bracket it. Tisch. changed his decision several times, but finally replaced it in his eighth edition.
BDAG does not shed much more light on this either.

What a curious mystery - can anyone help me out with this?
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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Re: Luke 6:1 ἐν σαββάτῳ δευτεροπρώτῳ

Post by cwconrad » September 1st, 2014, 5:17 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:Preparing for today's Sunday School class, I bumped into this curious phrase:
Luke 6 (Scrivener) wrote:Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν σαββάτῳ δευτεροπρώτῳ διαπορεύεσθαι αὐτὸν διὰ τῶν σπορίμων.
2. If the word is genuine, what can be its meaning? Jerome put this question to Gregory Nazianzen, and the latter eleganter lusit, saying, Docebo te super hac re in ecclesia (Hieron. Ep. lii.).
OK, Latinists, can you translate that for me?
Sure, Jerome asked Gregory of Nazianzus, who "jested smartly, 'I'll teach you about this matter in (the) church" or "I'll explain that to you in church."

So much for assistance. So much for the notion that we don't discuss textual criticism in this forum. If I have to retain in my NT something that doesn't belong there, my first pick will always be John 7:53-8:11.
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

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Re: Luke 6:1 ἐν σαββάτῳ δευτεροπρώτῳ

Post by Jonathan Robie » September 1st, 2014, 7:28 am

cwconrad wrote: So much for the notion that we don't discuss textual criticism in this forum.
We do discuss what a variant reading would mean. In this case, I have no idea how to interpret the variant reading - and saying it is spurious doesn't answer that question.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

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Re: Luke 6:1 ἐν σαββάτῳ δευτεροπρώτῳ

Post by Barry Hofstetter » September 1st, 2014, 7:55 am

When in classical texts a reading makes no sense whatsoever, and there is no clear conjectural emendation that helps, the editor will sometimes supply a stylized + called the crux frustrationis, meaning "trouble right here in River City" and that nobody has a real clue as to what the original might have said. I think this is a crux frustrationis moment right here. Whatever the word might have meant to the scribe it has zero equivalency to everyone else in the universe.
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Re: Luke 6:1 ἐν σαββάτῳ δευτεροπρώτῳ

Post by Nikolaos Adamou » September 1st, 2014, 8:18 am

ἐν σαββάτῳ δευτεροπρώτῳ
specifies which specific is this Sabbath.
The first Sabbath in importance is the Passover
The second one the on of the Pentecost, early summer that στάχυς are almost ready in the fields
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Luke 6:1 ἐν σαββάτῳ δευτεροπρώτῳ

Post by Barry Hofstetter » September 1st, 2014, 8:30 am

Nikolaos Adamou wrote:ἐν σαββάτῳ δευτεροπρώτῳ
specifies which specific is this Sabbath.
The first Sabbath in importance is the Passover
The second one the on of the Pentecost, early summer that στάχυς are almost ready in the fields
Perhaps, but "second-first" makes no sense in any language. Are you saying that two Sabbaths are in view here? If so, this word is an awfully weird way to communicate the concept.
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Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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Re: Luke 6:1 ἐν σαββάτῳ δευτεροπρώτῳ

Post by cwconrad » September 1st, 2014, 9:26 am

Barry Hofstetter wrote:When in classical texts a reading makes no sense whatsoever, and there is no clear conjectural emendation that helps, the editor will sometimes supply a stylized + called the crux frustrationis, meaning "trouble right here in River City" and that nobody has a real clue as to what the original might have said. I think this is a crux frustrationis moment right here. Whatever the word might have meant to the scribe it has zero equivalency to everyone else in the universe.
There are in fact several passages even in the critical text that might well be "obelized," but the adjective here in question isn't really taken seriously as belonging to the earliest form of the text. The question confronting the forum is, "What can the interpolator have been thinking?"
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Luke 6:1 ἐν σαββάτῳ δευτεροπρώτῳ

Post by Jonathan Robie » September 1st, 2014, 10:48 am

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
Nikolaos Adamou wrote:ἐν σαββάτῳ δευτεροπρώτῳ
specifies which specific is this Sabbath.
The first Sabbath in importance is the Passover
The second one the on of the Pentecost, early summer that στάχυς are almost ready in the fields
Perhaps, but "second-first" makes no sense in any language. Are you saying that two Sabbaths are in view here? If so, this word is an awfully weird way to communicate the concept.
It must have made sense to someone, or at least someone had a reason to write that word in some manuscripts.
Barry Hofstetter wrote:When in classical texts a reading makes no sense whatsoever, and there is no clear conjectural emendation that helps, the editor will sometimes supply a stylized + called the crux frustrationis, meaning "trouble right here in River City" and that nobody has a real clue as to what the original might have said. I think this is a crux frustrationis moment right here. Whatever the word might have meant to the scribe it has zero equivalency to everyone else in the universe.
Yeah, that's where I'm at currently. But the explanation Nikolaos gives is no harder to believe than the other explanations I've seen so far ...
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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Re: Luke 6:1 ἐν σαββάτῳ δευτεροπρώτῳ

Post by cwconrad » September 1st, 2014, 11:35 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:
Barry Hofstetter wrote:Perhaps, but "second-first" makes no sense in any language. Are you saying that two Sabbaths are in view here? If so, this word is an awfully weird way to communicate the concept.
It must have made sense to someone, or at least someone had a reason to write that word in some manuscripts.

... the explanation Nikolaos gives is no harder to believe than the other explanations I've seen so far ...
But is it easier? Perhaps this is not à propos, but an NET note lists six suggested interpretations for 1 Tim 2:15. For my part I don't find any one of them convincing and I doubt whether the question of the author's intent is worth pursuing. It is, of course, quite obvious that different questions exercise different people's curiosity.
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

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Re: Luke 6:1 ἐν σαββάτῳ δευτεροπρώτῳ

Post by Stephen Hughes » September 1st, 2014, 11:45 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:Plummer's explanation ... implies that the phrase was written in by a copyist who had no idea what it meant? Surely it meant something to whoever wrote it, no?
...
I have no idea how to interpret the variant reading - and saying it is spurious doesn't answer that question.
...
It must have made sense to someone, or at least someone had a reason to write that word in some manuscripts.
Barry Hofstetter wrote:Whatever the word might have meant to the scribe it has zero equivalency to everyone else in the universe.
The contemporary (Galen - thrived late second century AD) word ξανθόλευκος is translated as "pale yellow". I think the meaning of it is more like; There would be some people who would be of the opinion that this is coloured white, while others would say it was a shade of yellow (or what we in English would make a further distinction in colour and call brown). There is an element of uncertainty (not exactitude) in the adjective. [The specific word for "pale yellow" (also used by Galen) would perhaps be ὠχρός].

The Modern Greek word γυναικόπαιδα is a way to refer to women and children together. The word obscures a clear distinction between a women or a children - like, "A thunder storm broke and sent the γυναικόπαιδα (women and children) running in all directions for shelter". The main sense of the word is that the women and children are contrasted to άντρες (sic. on the "τ" in informal registers of Modern Greek). Any specific person in the group could be a woman or a child.
Last edited by Stephen Hughes on September 1st, 2014, 11:51 am, edited 2 times in total.
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