Mark 3:33,35 5:42 abnormalities?

Stephen C. Carlson scarlson at
Mon Jan 4 22:13:55 EST 1999

At 12:48 PM 1/5/99 +1000, Tim Duke wrote:
>I have noticed some places in my Nestles (4th Rev Ed) where italicised
>brakcets enclose a word or phrase, but absolutely no mention is made of
>it in the apparatus below. Two that I have chosen at random are Mark
>3:33,35 and 5:42.
>When I look at the intro, it says these refer to "an abnormality
>reproduced exactly from the original".  Does this mean that there is an
>error in the greek which has persisted in every single ancient
>manuscript?  If so, what is the error in these three cases?  I can't see
>it.  Where have I gone wrong?
>These seem to be quite frequent in Mark (more so than other books).  Any

The variants chosen for treatment in UBS4 (not Nestles) in the apparatus
is by no means complete.  Instead, the choice is directed to those
instances which are "of significance for translators and other readers."
[p. 2*].

The meaning of the brackets is different in the text than in the apparatus.

In the text, the brackets signify less certain readings, not an "abnormality."
You may find page 2* helpful in this regard, which I quote at length:

   "[ ] Brackets in the text indicate that the enclosed word, words,
   or parts of words may be regarded as part of the text, but that
   in the present state of New Testament textual scholarship this
   cannot be completely certain.  Such passages have a C-rating in
   the critical apparatus.  If the variant is of minor grammatical
   significance with no appreciable bearing on translation, no note
   is taken of it in the apparatus.  However, the number of bracketed
   passages receiving attention has been considerably increased
   over the Third Edition (corrected)."

Your examples of Mk3:33 35 and 5:42 fall into this category.  If you noticed
a greater occurrence of these in Mark, I think it is probably due to poorer
attestation of Mark within the MSS.

In the apparatus, on the other hand, the brackets [] have a different meaning.
These brackets enclose certain selected Byzantine MSS (pp. 18*).  The Master
List on page 47* explains the dual nature of this punctuation.

There is also the notation "[sic]" (note the "sic" in italics), discussed on
pages 19* and 51*, that indicates an "abnormality reproduced exactly from the
original."  This is probably what you were thinking of, but for this notation
there must be a "sic" and the examples of Mk3:33 35 and 5:42 do not fall into
this category.  You can see an example of this notation at Rv15:6 n.2 (LINOUS
[sic] for Alpha -- the real acc. pl. is LINA) and at Rv16:4 n.1 (EGENENTO [sic]
for either EGENETO or EGENONTO in 2062).

Stephen Carlson

Stephen C. Carlson                        mailto:scarlson at
Synoptic Problem Home Page
"Poetry speaks of aspirations, and songs chant the words."  Shujing 2.35

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