This concludes a series of articles exploring places where the use of synonyms could indicate that the biblical text was translated into Gothic at two different times or by two different translators. The main attraction of this article is the table where we compare the conclusions of my vocabulary study of Gothic Luke with Dieter T Roth’s reconstruction of Marcion’s version of Luke.
It is colour-coded according to how strongly it indicates the presence or not of the text in the respective early version.
Blue = maximum certainty of presence.
Green = probably present.
Yellow = hard to say.
Orange = probably absent.
Red = maximum certainty of absence.
Roth doesn’t use colours to designate levels of certainty, but I allowed myself to interpret from descriptions like “[…] attested but no insight into wording can be gained.” to the colour displayed for Luke 18:12, and so on.
|Reference||Greek corr.||Gothic lexeme||Rec. Marcion|
|19:24||μνᾶ … μνᾶς||skatts … daila||—|
The first minus (absence of text) in Marcion recounts Jesus birth and youth (Luke 1:1 — 2:52). It is commonly beleived by textual critics to be non-original, but this study rather indicates that it probably was in the first translator’s exemplar, and so would be very old. The indication is very weak as it hinges heavily on the usage of biuhti rather than sidus and the fact that such a long text, if it were translated by the second translator, would probably contain one or another clue to its lateness.
The second minus (Luke 15:11-32) is the parable of the prodigal son. It is very popular. Here, the vocabulary indicates that it may well have been absent from the first Gothic translator’s exemplar. Again, the indication is somewhat weak as it hinges heavily on the use of gawi in the sense of land/country.
Vocabulary indicates that the text of Luke’s gospel is relatively safe, compared to the other gospels and pauline epistles. However, there seems to have existed a text with several minuses compared to the present Byzantine (and Alexandrian) textual type(s), so it is not safe to say that Marcion would have excised all, or even most, of the portions of text that are missing when compared to the prevailing text. They may have been missing in some of his vorlages.
Many of the oldest manuscripts and fragments of the gospels were preserved in Egypt, thanks to the dry climate. These were often corrected/altered to read more like the standard text of the Byzantine Empire. I suggest this was done to the Gothic version aswell, in the sense of adding that text from the Byzantine standard manuscripts which was absent in the Gothic, and that this would have been the task of the second translator.