36 “But as for that day and hour no one knows it—not even the angels in heaven[a]—except the Father alone.
Matthew 24:36tc ‡ Some significant witnesses, including early Alexandrian and Western mss (א*,2b B D Θ ƒ13 it vgmss Irlat Hiermss), have the additional words οὐδὲ ὁ υἱός (oude ho huios, “nor the Son”) here (so NA28). Although the shorter reading (which lacks this phrase) is suspect in that it seems to soften the prophetic ignorance of Jesus, the final phrase (“except the Father alone”) already implies this. Further, the parallel in Mark 13:32 has οὐδὲ ὁ υἱός, with almost no witnesses lacking the expression; significantly, Mark does not add “alone” to the Father. It is thus doubtful that the absence of “nor the Son” is due to pious scribal motives. In keeping with Matthew’s general softening of Mark’s harsh statements throughout his Gospel, it is more likely that the absence of “nor the Son” is part of the autographic text of Matthew, being an intentional change on the part of the author. Further, this shorter reading is supported by א2a as well as L W ΓΔ ƒ1 33 565 579 700 1241 1424 Mal vg sy co Hiermss. Although the external evidence is not as impressive for the shorter reading, it best explains the rise of the other reading (in particular, how does one account for virtually no mss excising οὐδὲ ὁ υἱός at Mark 13:32 if such an absence here is due to scribal alteration? Although copyists were hardly consistent, for such a theologically significant issue at least some consistency would be expected on the part of a few scribes). Further, although some have claimed that the doubled οὐδέ is “necessary on internal grounds” (Bart D. Ehrman, The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture: The Effect of Early Christological Controversies on the Text of the New Testament [New York: OUP, 1993], 92; see also Daniel J. Harrington, The Gospel of Matthew, SP 1 [Collegeville, MN: Liturgical, 1991], 342: “…the syntax of the sentence (‘neither the angels … but the Father alone’) demands it.”), this is hardly the case. Indeed, apart from one quotation from the LXX, Matthew never elsewhere uses the correlative οὐδέ construction. Thus, on a redactional, intrinsic, and source-critical basis, the shorter reading is to be strongly preferred. See D. B. Wallace, “The Son’s Ignorance in Matthew 24:36: An Exercise in Textual and Redaction Criticism,” Studies on the Text of the New Testament and Early Christianity: Essays in Honour of Michael W. Holmes, ed. Daniel Gurtner, Paul Foster, and Juan Hernández (Leiden: Brill) 182–209.
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