Matthew 19:17

ὁ δὲ εἰπεν αὐτῷ· τί με λέγεις ἀγαθον; οὐδεὶς ἀγαθός, εἰ μὴ εἷς, ὅ Θεός· εἰ δὲ θέλεις εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὴν ζωὴν, τήρησον τὰς ἐντολάς.

Matt 19:17 [Textus Receptus (Elzevir) (1624)]69
Ὁ δὲ εἰπεν αὐτῷ· Τί με λέγεις ἀγαθον; οὐδεὶς ἀγαθόςεἰ μὴ εἷς, ὅ Θεός. εἰ δὲ θέλεις εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὴν ζωὴν, τήρησον τὰς ἐντολάς.

MSS: G, K, W, Y (f38v-39r|78-79), Ω, 8 (f50rc1-2), 13 (f26rc1), 43, 44 (f52v-53r), 201, 438

Matt 19:17 [Codex Sinaiticus (א or 01) (4th century)]q75f3vc2
Ο δε ειπεν αυτω τι με ερωτας περι του αγαθου εις εστιν ο αγαθος ει δε θελις εις την ζωην εισελθιν τηρησον τας εντολας :

Matt 19:17 [Codex Vaticanus Graecus 1209 (B03) (4th century)]15bc3
ο δε ειπεν αυτω τι με ερωτας περι του αγαθου εις εστιν ο αγαθος ει δε θελεις εις την ζωην εισελθειν τηρει τας εντολας

Matt 19:17 [Codex Ephraemi Syri Rescriptus (C04) (5th century)]34
Ο δε ειπεν αυτω· τι με λεγεις αγαθον· ουδεις αγαθος ει μη εις ο ΘC· ει δε θελεις εις την ζωην εισελθειν τηρησον τας εντολας·

Matt 19:17 [Codex Bezae Cantabrigiensis (D05) (5th century)]63v
Ο δε ειπεν αυτω τι με ερωτας περι αγαθου εις εστιν αγαθος· ει δε θελεις εις την ζωην ελθειν τηρει τας εντολας·

Matt 19:17 [Codex Seidelianus I (Harley MS5684) (G011) (9th century)]34rc1
ὁ δὲ ἐἰπεν αὐΤῶ· τί με λέγεις ἀγαθόν· οὐδεὶς ἀγαθὸς· εἰ μη εἷς ὁ ΘC· εἰ δὲ θέλεις εἰσελθείν εἰς τὴν ζωὴν· τήρησον τὰς ἐντολάς·

Matt 19:17 [Codex Regius (Grec 62) (L019) (8th century)]42vc2

Matt 19:17 [Codex Washingtonianus (W032) (5th century)]70
ο δε ειπεν αυτω τι με λεγεις αγαθον ουδεις αγαθος ει μη εις ο ΘC ει δε θελεις εισελθειν εις την ζωην τηρησον τας εντολας

Matt 19:17 [Codex Sangallensis 48 (Δ037) (9th century)]78
Ο δε ειπεν αυτω· Τι με αγαθον ουδεις αγαθος ειμη εις ο ΘC. Ει δε θελεις εις ελθειν. Τ·η·ρ·η·σ·ο·ν· εις την ζωην: Τηρησον τας εντολας.

Matt 12:42 [Minuscule 700 (Egerton MS 2610) (11th century)]59v
ὁ δὲ εἰπεν αὐτῷ· τί με ἐρωτᾶς περὶ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ· εἷς ἐστιν ἀγαθός· εἰ δὲ θέλεις εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὴν ζωὴν, τήρησον τὰς ἐντολάς·

MSS: 22 (f38r), 700

Matt 19:17 [Peshitta]
ܗܽܘ ܕ݁ܶܝܢ ܐܶܡܰܪ ܠܶܗ ܡܳܢܳܐ ܩܳܪܶܐ ܐܰܢ݈ܬ݁ ܠܺܝ ܛܳܒ݂ܳܐ ܠܰܝܬ݁ ܛܳܒ݂ܳܐ ܐܶܠܳܐ ܐܶܢ ܚܰܕ݂ ܐܰܠܳܗܳܐ ܐܶܢ ܕ݁ܶܝܢ ܨܳܒ݂ܶܐ ܐܰܢ݈ܬ݁ ܕ݁ܬ݂ܶܥܽܘܠ ܠܚܰܝܶܐ ܛܰܪ ܦ݁ܽܘܩܕ݁ܳܢܶܐ܂

Matt 19:17 [Vulgate]
qui dixit ei quid me interrogas de bono unus est bonus Deus si autem vis ad vitam ingredi serva mandata

Critical Apparatus :

(1) λεγεις αγαθον ουδεις αγαθος ει μη εις ο θεος : C, G, K, W, Y, Ω, 8, 13, 43, 44, 201, 438, Majority, Peshitta
(2) αγαθον ουδεις αγαθος ειμη εις ο θεος : Δ
(3) ερωτας περι του αγαθου εις εστιν ο αγαθος : א, B1, L
(4) ερωτας περι του αγαθου εις εστιν αγαθος : 22, 700
(5) ερωτας περι του αγαθου εστιν ο αγαθος : B*
(6) ερωτας περι αγαθου εις εστιν αγαθος : D

(7) θελεις : B, C, D, G, K, L, W, Y, Δ, Ω, 8, 13, 43, 44, 201, 438, 700
(8) θελις : א

(9) εισελθειν εις την ζωην : G, K, W, Y, Δ1, Ω, 8, 13, 22, 43, 44, 201, 438, 700, Majority
(10) εις την ζωην εισελθειν : B, C
(11) εις την ζωην εισελθιν : א
(12) ει την ζωην εισελθειν : L
(13) εις την ζωην ελθειν : D
(14) εις ελθειν τηρησον εις την ζωην : Δ*

(15) τηρησον : א, C, G, K, L, W, Y, Δ, Ω, 8, 13, 22, 43, 44, 201, 438, 700, Majority
(16) τηρει : B, D



A Textual Commentary On Matthew 19:17

(a) Matt. xix. 17. τί με λέγεις ἀγαθον; οὐδεὶς ἀγαθός, εἰ μὴ εἷς. This is the reading of the common text supported by the mass of the more recent copies ; other authorities, however, differ widely, and the form which they give to the passage is, τι με ερωτας περι του αγαθου; εις εστιν ο αγαθος. The evidence respecting this passage (and also as to the words ὅ θεός? which the common text subjoins) requires to be stated distributively ; because the vouchers for the different readings in the respective parts are not precisely the same.
1.τί με λέγεις ἀγαθον; ; This is supported by the greater number of MSS., in accordance with the Peshito Syriac and the text of the Harclean Syriac and the Thebaic (alias Sahidic) versions (the latter as found in the Oxford fragments) ; also by the Codex Brixianus, one of the Latin MSS. published by Blanchini.
   Τί με ἐρωτᾷς περὶ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ; The Vulgate, all the Old Latin copies except Cod. Brix. the Syriac brought into notice by Mr. Cureton ; the Jerusalem Syriac (this Lectionary does read thus, I made a special note of the place myself: the passage was imperfectly examined by Adler) ; the margin of the Harclean Syriac ; the Memphitic (alias Coptic), the Armenian, and the Æthiopic; the MSS. B D L, 1, 22 ; Matthaei’s x., in addition to the common reading.

2. οὐδεὶς ἀγαθός, εἰ μὴ εἷς. So most MSS., three copies of the Old Latin, the Peshito and Harclean Syriac, and the Thebaic.
   εἷς ἐστιν ὁ ἀγαθός. The Latin Vulgate ; the oldest and best copies of the Old Latin ; the Curetonian Syriac, and the Jerusalem Syriac Lectionary ; the Memphitic, the Armenian, and the Æthiopic. B D L, 1, 22.
ὁ θεός is then added by most MSS.; by the Vulgate and most copies of the Old Latin ; the Curetonian, Peshito, and Harclean Syriac ; the Memphitic and the Thebaic : while it is not inserted in the Latin Codices Vercellensis and Sangermanensis 1, the Jerusalem Syriac, the Armenian, and the Æthiopic B D L, 1, 22.
The reading which is opposed to the common text has the express testimony of Origen* in its favour ; so that here we have distinct evidence of its early existence ; we find this statement confirmed by several of the best and earliest versions ; and, in accordance with these united witnesses, certain MSS., few in num ber (but two amongst them being some of the most ancient), up hold the same reading.
The bearing of this passage on the question of the value of ancient testimony will be best understood by citing what Mr. Scrivener, an opposer of the principle of recurring to the ancient MSS., as such, says on the passage in his “Supplement to the Authorised English Version.”
Matt. xix. 17. ” Griesbach and Lachmann here admit into the text an important variation, which, both from its extent and obvious bearing, cannot have originated in accidental causes. Instead of τί με λέγεις ἀγαθον ; οὐδεὶς ἀγαθός, εἰ μὴ εἷς ὁ θεός, ‘Why callest thou me good ? there is none good but one, that is God’ : they read, τί με ἐρωτᾷς περὶ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ ; εἷς ἐστιν ὁ ἀγαθός, ‘Why askest thou me concerning what is good? He who is good is One.’ I fear it is but too evident that this text was mangled by some over-zealous scribe, who was displeased with the doctrine of the Son’s inferiority which seemed to be implied in it ; and who did not perceive that His subordination to the Father in the economy of grace, is perfectly consistent with His equality in respect to the Divine nature and essence. The received text is found in Mark x. 18 ; Luke xviii. 19; with no variety in the manuscripts worthy of notice ; and even in this place Griesbach’s reading is contained only in five copies (B D L, 1, 22), and partially in a sixth (Matthaei’s x.). Now, all these documents (except perhaps one) being Alexandrine, and B alone being of first-rate importance, every rule of sober criticism calls for the rejection of Griesbach’s correction, especially since it is clear in what sources of mistaken feeling it took its rise. It is supported, however, by the Italic, Vulg. and the Coptic versions (with the slight addition of Deus), and in part by the Sahidic, Æthiopic, and one or two of less weight. Syr. agrees with the Textus Receptus ; but the language of Origen (torn. iij. p. 664) may show at how early a period Griesbach’s variation had become current : ὁ μὲν οὖν Ματθαῖος ὡς περὶ ἀγαθοῦ ἔργου ἐρωτηθέντος τοῦ σωτῆρος ἐν τῷ τί ἀγαθὸν ποιήσω; ὁ δὲ Μάρκος καὶ Λουκᾶς φασὶ τὸν σωτῆρα εἰρηκέναι, τί με λέγεις ἀγαθόν ; οὐδεὶς ἀγαθὸς εἰ μὴ εἷς, ὅ θεός. The process whereby Griesbach and Lachmann persuaded themselves of the genuineness of their new text is visible enough. The Codices B D, the Italic, Origen, and the Vulgate, constitute a clear majority of the authorities admitted by the latter. The former, conceiving that the joint evidence of Codices B L, 1, Origen, the Sahidic, and Coptic, is decisive of the testimony of his Egyptian family ; while the Codex D, the Italic, and Vulgate represent that of the western recension ; infers that their joint influence will more than counterbalance Syr., Chrysostom, and the whole mass of corrupt Byzantine documents of every kind : although numerically they exceed, in the proportion of about ninety to one, the vouchers for both his other classes united. Thus it is only by denying the premises assumed by these critics, that we can avoid subscribing to their perilous conclusions.
“On this passage I willingly join issue with Mr. Scrivener ; and I do it all the more cheerfully, because I know that I am discussing the question, not with some sciolist who thinks that he shows his acuteness in argument, but with a scholar who maintains his views honestly, and straightforwardly, and who so writes that all may know exactly what he means, whether they agree with him or not.
But I not only join issue with Mr. Scrivener as to the reading of this one passage, but I rely on it as supplying an argument on the whole question as to the comparative authority of the mass of MSS., and that of the few which are in accordance with ancient testimony. On the one hand, let it be remembered, that we have the distinct evidence of Origen, in full accordance with which are (i.) the best copies of the Old Latin, (ij.) the Vulgate, (iij.) the Curetonian Syriac, (iv.) the Jerusalem Syriac, (v.) the Memphitic, (vj.) the Armenian, (vij.) the Æthiopic. On the other hand there is no testimony of the same kind to place against that of Origen ; and as to versions there are (i.) the Peshito Syriac (as it has come down to us), (ij.) the Harclean Syriac in part, (iij.) the Thebaic, and (iv.) revised copies of the Old Latin. It is utterly unimportant, in the present inquiry, to ask what the versions of the seventh century and onward, such as the Arabic, Sclavonic, and Persic, may read.
To recur, then, to Mr. Scrivener’s arguments ; I do not uphold Griesbach’s recensions, nor do I now discuss Lachmann’s principles ; but here there is, on the one hand, a reading of the text older than the time of Origen, and, on the other, a reading of a different complexion. It is in vain to speak of the text having been mangled by an over-zealous scribe, unless proof presumptive at least is given ; for if there were an alteration from design, it must have become diffused in some marvellous manner. For the reading mentioned by Origen is that not only, in its essential features, of the Vulgate, but of the Old Latin version, in all copies except the re-cast Cod. Brixianus, and of all the ancient versions, except the Peshito and Harclean Syriac, and the Thebaic (as found in the Oxford fragments) ; this reading must thus have been diffused widely in all the regions of early Christianity. Mr. Scrivener does indeed (“Collation of the Gospels,” page xv.) express surprise that Griesbach “infers, that the joint influence” of the MSS. and versions which support this wide-spread reading “will more than counterbalance the venerable Peshito Syriac,* and the whole mass of Byzantine documents of every kind ;” — I should have thought that no such importance could have attached to the Peshito Syriac, as to outweigh the counter-testimony of so many other versions : now, however, we may put in the opposite scale the Curetonian Syriac, (a version far more worthy of the epithet of “venerable” than that which is called the Peshito as it has come down to us), and which (as we might have expected) accords with the other most ancient witnesses in upholding the wide-spread reading. Whether ” every rule of sober criticism” will require us to discard this attested reading, must, I suppose, depend on what we consider such rules to be. Might I not well ask for some proof that the other reading existed, in the time of Origen, in copies of St. Matthew’s Gospel?
And as to the source of the reading existing in the mass of MSS., need we feel any difficulty in seeking it out? For it is that which is found in the two other synoptical Gospels ; and every one who knows MSS. minutely, must be aware how habitually copyists inserted in one Gospel the readings of another, so as to bring them (perhaps unconsciously) into closer verbal agreement. We do not know of a single MS. or version that has not suffered more or less in this manner ;f we have to make the same complaint as was made by Jerome well nigh 1500 years ago. In a case like this, where we have the direct testimony of Origen, confirmed by good MSS., and upheld by versions widely diffused, we need not hesitate to maintain the authority of that reading, which is not exactly the same as that of Mark and Luke. How naturally copyists sought verbal conformity, may be seen in this passage; for C, 33, and some of the other MSS. which commonly exhibit the same class of text as B L, etc., here accord with the later MSS. in giving the reading rightly found in Mark and Luke.
Mr. Scrivener is quite right in saying that the reading of B D L “cannot have originated in accidental causes;” — the rival reading may, however, have so originated, and the notion that it did so is one of the highest probability. Indeed, if a designed alteration, for doctrinal purposes, had taken place in Matthew, how could Mark and Luke escape from a similar injury? But the mass of the MSS., ” in the proportion of about ninety to one,” oppose what I have proved to be the ancient and wide spread reading of this passage : — what does this teach ? Why, that the mass of recent documents possess no determining voice, in a question as to what we should receive as genuine readings. We are able to take the few documents whose evidence is proved to be trustworthy, and safely discard from present consideration the eighty-nine ninetieths, or whatever else their numerical pro portion may be. I do not see anything “perilous” in the “conclusions” to which such a passage as this leads ; on the contrary, it presents us with a safe line of evidence, connecting our good MSS. with the former part of the third century of our era. I should feel that I did indeed put the text of the New Testament in peril, if I adopted the authority of the mass of MSS. which is proved to be at variance with what was read by the Christians of the third century at least. (Tregelles, An Account of the Printed Text of the Greek New Testament, pp. 133-138)

(b) Where there is the united evidence of the oldest MSS., versions, and citations, criticism has no place, for the reading is not in question.
In passages where testimonies differ, an express statement that the reading was so and so, is of very great value. Thus the express testimony of Origen, that τί με λέγεις ἀγαθόν; is not the reading of Matt. xix. 17, would have very great weight alone ; for it is decisive of the fact that this was not the reading of the third century ; so that this sentence would be suspicious even if it were not rejected as it is by the best MSS. and versions ; which, with Origen, read τί με ἐρωτᾷς περὶ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ; (see the evidence in full in the preceding Section, p. 133). Such passages might be multiplied greatly, in which express testimony accords with the conclusion to which other evidence would have led. (Tregelles, p. 187)

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