“Whom He Also Named Apostles”: A Textual Problem in Mark 3:14 -- By: Christopher W. Skinner

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 161:643 (Jul 2004)
Article: “Whom He Also Named Apostles”: A Textual Problem in Mark 3:14
Author: Christopher W. Skinner

“Whom He Also Named
Apostles”: A Textual Problem
in Mark 3:14

Christopher W. Skinner

Christopher W. Skinner is Associate Pastor, Perry Hall Baptist Church, Baltimore, Maryland.

In Nestle-Aland’s 27th edition of the Greek New Testament Mark 3:14 includes the phrase οὓς καὶ ἀποστόλους ὠνόμασεν (“whom He also named apostles”). It is placed in square brackets to indicate the “balance of probabilities” posited by the editorial committee.1 While English translations are split over the insertion of this phrase,2 the majority of modern commentators on the Gospel of Mark favor its omission.3 Such a wide disparity among

translation committees and commentators reflects the difficulties raised by the evidence for this verse and its various readings. Several factors are involved in evaluating this textual problem, and the present study does not purport to offer the final word on the discussion. However, there does seem to be an acceptable solution that addresses both textual and narrative-critical issues.

External Evidence

Several strong Alexandrian and Caesarean witnesses support the bracketed Nestle-Aland27 reading. The witnesses attesting to the bracketed reading are א B C* Θ f 13 28 pc syhmg co. Without question the reading enjoys the support of the earliest and most reliable manuscripts as well as the strongest geographical distribution. Also neither of the variant readings enjoys such widespread or such early manuscript support. The phrase is completely omitted by A C2 (D) L f 1 33 M latt sy sams and is placed after ἵνα ὦσιν μετ ᾿ αὐτοῦ in W (Δ). By itself the external evidence for the textual reading is practically insurmountable—a point almost conceded by the United Bible Society committee.4 Not only is the Nestle-Aland27 reading attested to by a combination of the earliest and best witnesses, but also the occurrence of the disputed phrase in W (late fourth or early fifth century) further bolsters a claim to the authenticity of the phrase on the grounds of early attestation. Thus the external evidence points strongly in the direction...

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