Matthew 5:22 - Salvian apparatus omission "without a cause" ?

This was planned as a post some years back, in Aug, 2007 for the textualcriticism forum. Back when I was adding a number of entries to the apparatus. Since the Mark Heuer paper came up recently, this might be good as one of the many examples of Burgon still being ahead of the modern apparatus.


Hi Folks,

My topic of interest is church writer citation.
Pardon the longish introduction. Just a one-time intro to the topic .

Please, feel free to drop down to my question on one Salvian reference below.


First, I use the term ECW (early church writers) for a couple of reasons. The designation "fathers" or "patristics" has various problems. Many citations are from auxiliary sources and there can be an objection to the labelling of questionable writers, or even solid writers, as "church fathers". (And one man's solid writer is another's with false doctrine and one person's church is another's heresy.)

Also I notice a tendency of some modern textual criticism writers to make textual arguments based on the references of ECF (early church fathers) where the assertions appear to be craftily designed to ignore solid references that are not today attributed to so-called "church fathers".

(e.g. The references may have been considered as authored by Jerome or Athanasasius or another at an earlier time and yet their authorship was challenged .. a whole interesting discussion in itself, especially if the textual reference itself was at the heart of the challenge. Since the reference is no longer a "church father" by current critical understandings it can be simply ignored in an ultra-parsed construction. )

Thus, solid textual or commentary references could be ignored on a technicality in the infamous carefully-parsed category of convenience statements like :

"no Greek church father before the 12th century comments on ... ".

After all, such-and-such a reference to a verse, even if rock-solid, was not technically given by a "Greek church father" - only by a lesser or unknown light. And secondly parsing, perhaps even by a writer who, albeit bilingual and working with manuscripts in both languages, is considered more a Latin light.

Some have seen this type of parsing manipulation, with categories of convenience and convolution, and supposed Chinese-language-walls, as putting modern textual criticism in a very poor light. There seems to be little interest in policing for word construction integrity. Perhaps using 'ECW' will alleviate at least some of these difficulties, at least on this forum.

Now overall many folks rely on the UBS and similar apparatus information, yet there are many difficulties in using these and hoping to get a true early church writer picture. There are many evidentiary issues barely discussed. e.g. There are differences in types of variances (e.g. inclusion/omission is very different than alternate renderings, and some issues of single verse variants are different than multi-verse with interdependencies, also some Bible verses and sections had little comment, some had many references). There are cases where the fuller context of an ECW reference is apparatus-ignored even though it is directly germane. And there are fairly subjective determinations as to whether a reading is strong enough to be a citation. This is understandable in a sense, with such a fluid situation hard-and-fast rules are difficult.

Also there is an issue of how to work to correct miscitations, one would expect this to be done expeditiously in today's Internet communication age, yet it seems not to be the case. Any help on this is appreciated, who receives information and then makes corrections ?

btw, One paper that did discuss some of these issues, albeit from one side was the following.

An Evaluation of John W. Burgon's Use of Patristic Evidence - Mark H. Heuer
Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (JETS) December 1995 p.519-530

This is a very uneven paper (e.g. Heuer never even discusses the fact that many accurate references of Dean Burgon are not taken into the apparatus even to this day.) However, read carefully, sans glasses, it does give a lot of insight into the issues involving patristic citations.

On the flip-side there is also a concern whether there is a built in bias in the current determinations, hoping (subconsciously, perhaps) to match the "soundness" of the overall textual decision .. which in most cases will be the reading of B and/or Aleph over the Byzantine or Majority or Traditional text, or over the TR.

Also due to the many variances in types of variances, it is hard to determine what is the criteria for a listing. Early church writers are less likely to give a direct quote with an author reference. Many references have auxiliary information of great import that is not indicated, such as the writer himself emphasizing the variant. Sometimes a writer actually uses a variant a large number of times and the apparatus is not reflecting
this accurately.

For all these types of reasons it is very helpful to check up the references before relying on the apparatus if this is a passage of great interest to you. Today this is much easier with a variety of internet resources available yet it seems to be rarely done outside a scholarly paper on a particular topic.

Clearly, overall, different folks will have a different view of the significance of early writer references compared to manuscript and internal evidences. However often there will be many references that chronologically are way before our earliest extant manuscripts, a full century or two or more, and many more references at the same period as the early manuscripts, in the 4th and 5th century. So a case can be made that in many
verses this information is on the probative level, or at least the tipping level.

In my experience Wieland's apparatus is the only one that makes a real effort to demonstrate and discuss the ECW citations themselves to any degree. And it has been my experience that this discussion is absolutely crucial. Yet even Wieland often just scratches the surface.

Today we have separate apparatus information in UBS-3, which was updated to UBS-4. Yet sometimes UBS-3 appears more accurate anyway, the changes can be puzzling. There is a UBS textual commentary by Metzger, NA-27, the ongoing work of Swanson. More accessible online is the Munster Institute transcripts and Wielands material, while David Robert Palmer has collated many of these together for his work, which is on the web for the Gospels, Revelation, and the Johannine Comma.

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Lest this be all theoretical, it is time to begin looking at some variants. It is my view that it is best to only look at a couple of verses and look at them closely and intently.

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The first one for consideration, chosen simply because it has been my recent research, it is fairly straightforward, has good, solid ECW referencing and is less doctrinally charged than some, is :

Matthew 5:22
But I say unto you,
That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment:
and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca,
shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say,
Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

The question here is whether "without a cause" is original.

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One looks at the apparatus.

Wieland Willker is barebones here.
"without a cause"
Include (Byz) - Ir, Eus
Omit (Text) - Justin, Or, Hier(mss), Basil(4th CE)

While David Robert Palmer has collated a number of apparatuses together.

Include -
Irenaeus lat-mss-acc-to-Origen Eusebius Basil Apostolic Constitutions mss-acc-to-Apollinaris
Ps-Justin Chrysostom Cyril Theodoret; Cyprian Hilary Lucifer mss-acc-to-Jerome AugustineĽ

Omit -
Origen mss-acc-to-Apollinarus; Tertullian-vid Chromatius Jerome Augustineľ

Yet there are many differences nonetheless with the work of Richard Wilson.

Richard Wilson
Zack Hubert
Diatessaron Irenaeus Cyprian Eusebius Hilary Lucifer Basil Apostolic Constitutions Ps-Justin Chrysostom Augustine-1/4 Cyril Speculum Theodoret mss-according-to-Origen mss-according-to-Apollinaris mss-according-to-Jerome

Gospel of the Nazarenes Ptolemy Justin Tertullian-vid Origen Theodore-Heraclea Chromatius Jerome Theodore-according-to-Apollinaris Augustine-3/4 Cassian Ps-Athanasius mss-according-to-Apollinaris Greek-mss-according-to-Augustine

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I am just taking one reference right now to give the idea of the general concern. The following reference was published over a century in Revision Revised p. 360 by Dean John Burgon and was very easy to find on the web.

On the Government of God:
For this reason the Savior added to this precept a still harsher decree, saying:
“Whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.”

This is a simple example, a very clear direct quote, known for over a century,
yet missing from every apparatus worked on by teams of scholars again and again.

How could something like this be ?