Textual Criticism in the ESV

This is probably one of the most amazing text critical decisions I have seen in an quite a long time. I checked the ESV against the ASV, NASB95, KJV, RSV, NRSV, TNIV, NIV, HCSB, and NLT on this one. The ESV follow the RSV alone in this one. Its really striking:

46 While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. 48 But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?”

Note: Some manuscripts insert verse 47: Someone told him, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, asking to speak to you”

Matthew 12:46-48.

I don’t think following the RSV here was the best course of action. The verse may be lacking in א*B and a few others, but it seems to be too clearly of an error of the same kind we see P46 at Ephesians 1:3 where the first half the verse is missing. Both Matt 12:47 and Ephesians 1:3 definitely falls under the heading of  exceptions where the preference for the shorter reading should be rejected. I’ve sent my suggestion for the verse’s addition to the ESV committee.

7 thoughts on “Textual Criticism in the ESV

Add yours

  1. Note that א* also omits the last three words of the previous verse, but other witnesses do not. That probably strengthens your argument.

    Are you sure about Ephesians 1:3 in P46? NA27 doesn’t note this variant, which is potentially linked to the P46 variant in 1:1 which I just commented on.

  2. Mike,

    Isn’t this just another example of the ESV blindly following the RSV? Who was it that posted the statistics? The ESV follows the RSV more closely than the TNIV follows the NIV…

    It never ceases to amaze me that the RSV, which was decried as communist and heretical in the 1950’s is now being embraced by the same theological tradition in the form of the ESV!


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